Rifts over Port City lead to resignations

While the discussion on the LNG agreement with America continues, reports have come in regarding a rift between the Colombo Port City Commission, the Chinese company and the secretary to the president.

The most recent development in this rift is the resignations submitted by the legal adviser of the Colombo Port City commission Nihal Jayawardena and the company Capitol City Corporate Services which functioned as the Secretary to the commission.

Nihal Jayawardena was also a consultant at this company.

This situation was a result of the rift that initially began between the secretary to the president Dr. P.B. Jayasundara, the chairman of the Port City Commission President’s Council Gamini Marapana, and the managing director of Chinese Company CHEC Port City Colombo, even before the these recent resignations.

When we inquired into the matter it was revealed that the Chinese company had requested the port city commission to convert to dollars the rupee income received by leasing lands in Sri Lanka.

The Chairman of the Port City Commission Gamini Marapana had refused to allow this, as lands equivalent to the investment by the Chinese company in Sri Lanka has already been leased out to the Chinese company.

Gamini Marapana PC was of the stance that at a time when the country is facing a forex crisis, such a request cannot be approved.

Following the discussions the Managing director of the Chinese company had written to Gamini Marapana PC that discussion should be held once every fortnight, so that progress can be made on the port city project, and also forwarded a copy to the secretary to the president.

Responding to this letter secretary to the president P.B. Jayasundara had informed the chairman of the port city commission, that the meeting will be convened under his auspices.

The President’s secretary had informed Gamini Marapana PC to direct the Director General of the port city commission to organize this meeting once every fortnight.

Responding to this letter Gamini Marapana PC had informed the Secretary to the President, that as the commission was appointed by the president, the commission is answerable to the president and added that the secretary to the president has no power to intervene in these matters.

The letter had gone on to note that matters including organizing meetings are among the duties of the director General of the Commission.

Gamini Marapana PC had stressed that therefore he is against this process as it would undermine the trust placed in the port city commission.

Gamini Marapana PC had gone on to note that the secretary to the president is not empowered to advice the commission based on the needs of the Chinese Company.

Replying to this letter the secretary to the president had informed President’s Council Gamini Marapana that he will not intervene in the matter.

Meanwhile, the letter that was sent to the commission chairman by the President’s secretary in connection to the letter of the Managing Director of the Chinese connection had been copied to the President’s legal advisor Nihal Jayawardhena.

There had been a situation thereafter where a delay was experience in certain tasks that were allocated to the legal adviser and the secretary. The commission had then resorted to using other companies to fulfill those tasks.

The legal adviser and the secretarial company had then taken steps to officially resign from those responsibilities.