Sunday, 05 July 2020 20:55

Tug of war on ECT tightens with top bureaucrat’s insider dealing

While a top bureaucratic official’s move to vest the East Container Terminal project in an insider deal to a company which has close links to him is raising conflict of interest issues the Colombo port is once again could suffer transshipment growth, informed sources said.

The tug of war of finding an investor on expanding capacity through the development of the East Terminal continues with India tightening its grip in accordance with the Memorandum of Cooperation (MoC) signed by India to develop the project during previous regime

Sri Lanka President Gotabaya Rajapaksa on Friday appointed a five-member committee to examine and report on the concerns about the development of Jaya Container Terminal (JCT) and East Container Terminal (ECT) of the Colombo Port.

The move of finding a local investor for the East Container Terminal project has been put on hold after revelations of a conflict of interest involving a senior official of the present Government.

The local company owned by a relative of the tip official has been proposed as a partner for the proposed company which will hold 51 percent of the local shares.The company concerned already has undertaken other state contracts.

Port workers unions said they were aware of the conflict of interest and hope to take up the issue with the government soon.

Trade unions have reiterated that the East Container Terminal (ECT) must be completely brought under the Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA), after calling off two days of protests.

(LIN)

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