Sri Lanka President Maithripala Sirisena dropped another bombshell today alleging that a Chinese company in 2012 has misappropriated Rs. 2 billion from the funds for the Lotus Tower construction.
Speaking at the opening of the Chinese-funded Colombo Lotus Tower, President Sirisena revealed that the construction of the controversial project commenced in 2012 with a loan of Rs. 16 billion from the China Exim Bank.
However, the President said Rs. 2 billion had been paid to a Chinese company that had entered into the trilateral agreement with the lending agency and the government as an advance for this project and the company has gone missing and the money remains unaccounted.
“Rs. 2 billion paid for a Chinese company in 2012 is missing. When we inquired we found out that there was not even a company like that in China,” President Sirisena said.
The 350m Lotus Tower, considered as the tallest tower in South Asia was built at a cost of USD 104.3 million, about 80% of which was funded by the Government of China.
The total cost of the project was estimated at Rs. 19 billion and a tripartite agreement was signed between the Exim Bank of China, Telecommunications Regulatory Commission of Sri Lanka and another Chinese company, for which Rs. 2 billion has been paid as advance in 2012.
According to the President, investigations carried out in 2015 had revealed that there was no information about the second Chinese company Aerospace Long-March International Trade.
Addressing the gathering after the launch of the tower, the President said that the tower would be a boost in communication technology.
The President also hoped that it would be another step forward in the local and foreign tourism industry.