Corruption allegations are Sri Lanka’s problem – China
Posted on November 3rd, 2016

by Zacki Jabbar Courtesy The Island

The Chinese Ambassador in Colombo, Yi Xianliang, addressing a group of journalists at his Embassy premises on Tuesday night said that he did not think the accusations were true, but if proved correct, his government would take stern action against the offenders

November 3, 2016, 10:10 pm

China says allegations that some of its companies had resorted to bribery and corruption to obtain business contracts in Sri Lanka was not its problem.

The Chinese Ambassador in Colombo, Yi Xianliang, addressing a group of journalists at his Embassy premises on Tuesday night said that he did not think the accusations were true, but if proved correct, his government would take stern action against the offenders

“The corruption allegations are Sri Lanka’s problem and we need not take the blame for it. Our firms enter into legal contracts before commencing any project in any part of the world. If for example a Chinese company has given a donation to an institution for social service projects and the money has not been used for the said purpose, it is up to your authorities to deal with the situation,” he noted, adding that China could not interfere in the internal affairs of other countries.

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When it was pointed out by The Island that not all the dollar loans taken by the previous Rajapaksa government were at two percent interest as claimed, the Ambassador admitted that some had been as high as five percent or more. “But, now all loans are being provided at two percent. I asked some of the Ministers in the current government including Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake why they, having criticised Chinese loans as expensive prior to 2015, were accepting them now.”

Asked how much Sri Lanka owed China in loans and interest , he said, “We do not consider them to be expensive. It’s not a big amount for us, but expect a thank you in return, not unfair criticism.”

Xianliang observed that Sri Lanka along with Dubai and Singapore had emerged among the top countries for investment, but if Sri Lanka was to reap the benefits, it had to maintain consistency in policy, otherwise the international community would look elsewhere.

People might decide to change their governments, but that did not mean bilateral agreements could be discarded according to ones whims and fancies of anyone, he added.

Asked what the loss due to the Colombo Port City project being suspended for about one-and-a-half years by the Sirisena-Wickremesinghe government was the Ambassador revealed that it totaled USD 140 million. “But we will not seek damages from a long standing friend such as you.”

Commercial Counselor Wang Yingqi responding to allegations that some Chinese companies had produced substandard work, said that it had not been proved.

 

If evidence was produced, they would be replied to with facts and figures, he stressed.

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