Chinese company says contribution to Pushpa Rajapaksa Foundation was part of Corporate Social Responsibility
Posted on July 12th, 2018

Courtesy NewsIn.Asia

Colombo, July 12 ( The  Colombo International Container Terminals Limited (CICT), which is a joint venture of the China Merchants Port Holdings Company (CMPort) and the Sri Lanka Pots Authority (SLPA), has  said that the payment of Rs.19,410,000/-to the Pushpa Rajapaksa Foundation was a donation  for the construction of houses for the under-privileged as part of the company’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).

The Pushpa Rajapaksa Foundation is in the name of the wife of Basil Rajapaksa, former Economic Development Minister and brother of former Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

Denying that the payment was bribe to get the contract to build the Colombo South Terminal, the CICT said in a statement on  Thursday : the donation was made long after the project concession agreement for the Colombo South Terminal had been signed and construction work on the terminal had already commenced.”

This payment is clearly reflected in our audited accounts for the relevant year. We therefore categorically reject the implication that the payment is tantamount to a bribe.”

This issue had already been brought up in the media and was investigated by the relevant authorities three years ago. However, in the wake of these latest reports, we reiterate and bring to the notice of the media and the general public that CICT made a donation to the said foundation, as part of its commitment to Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), and did not intend it to be, nor believe it to be otherwise.”

CICT has already provided the required information on this matter to the relevant authorities. The company has no further information to provide on the matter, other than for what has already been provided.”

For the record, we wish to reiterate that this donation was a part of CICT’s CSR commitment, and in keeping with this commitment, we have also supported other deserving projects such as providing support to the victims of the Koslanda landslide in 2016 with cash donations and rations; major sponsorship of the Wheelchair Tennis program of Sri Lanka Tennis Association (SLTA); and a donation through the China Merchant Charity Foundation of foldable intraocular lenses and cartridges worth $ 60,000 along with an allocation of $ 200,000 for cataract surgeries for needy patients under the ‘Tribute to love, China – Sri Lanka Free Cataract Surgery Campaign’ etc.”

Once funding is allocated, CICT believes that the funding allocated would be utilized for the said projects by the receiving agencies, without CICT having to play a supervisory role as to the implementation of such projects,” the statement said.

Charge Against CHEC Denied

Earlier, the Chinese embassy denied a New York Times  report that the China Harbor Engineering Company (CHEC), which built the US$ 1.1 billion  Hambantota port in south Sri Lanka, had given US$.7.6 million to former President Mahinda Rajapaksa ahead of the January 8, 2018 Presidential election as a contribution to his campaign.

The embassy and the CHEC both said that the allegation was investigated in 2015 itself by the successor government of President Sirisena and that the company had given strong evidence” refuting the charges. The matter was dropped thereafter.

However, in view of the fact that a fresh probe had been ordered, it would face it as it had done before, the embassy and the CHEC said.

Political Angle

Accusations of Chinese companies bribing  the Rajapaksas were made in the election campaign of the Joint Opposition candidate Maithripala Sirisena in 2014 and early 2015.

After Rajapaksa lost to Sirisena in the election, the Chinese companies were probed. But nothing came of these probes and the   Chinese companies CHEC and CMPort not only continued with their projects but got new ones too.

However, with provincial, parliamentary and Presidential elections due between now and 2020, sections of the government have begun a campaign to tarnish the image of the Rajapaksas.

With the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) of the Rajapaksas sweeping  the February 2018 local government elections, the necessity to step up the campaign against Rajapaksas has heightened.

Chinese company says contribution to Pushpa Rajapaksa Foundation was part of CSR


3 Responses to “Chinese company says contribution to Pushpa Rajapaksa Foundation was part of Corporate Social Responsibility”

  1. NeelaMahaYoda Says:

    According to the criminal conflict of interest statute of US, 18 U.S.C. § 208. Accepting donation from a contactor by a Minister’s wife is a clear case of a criminal conflict of interest and a corruption deal.

    Unfortunately, in Sri Lanka this is not explicitly defined in the statutory book or in the penal code. Conflict of interest is a situation in which a public official or a politician has a private or other interest which is such as to influence, or appear to influence, the impartial and objective performance of his or her official duties.

    We cannot change the past, but we can choose to create a future in the image of our hopes rather than our fears.

    That is why I commented earlier, that some legislation like US criminal conflict of interest statute, 18 U.S.C. § 208 is needed as fewer safeguards means an increased corruption risk in the government. Once the legislation in place, there will be no need of political institutions like FCID etc, but the country’s legal system should be capable of handling and prosecuting those who are involved in corruption. For that criminal conflict of interest shall be explicitly defined in the statutory book and penal code.

  2. Dilrook Says:

    But this amount was added to the loan account. All Sri Lankans (including unborn Sri Lankans) must pay this plus interest! Instead why couldn’t the charity borrow it from a local bank? Or the children’s affairs ministry could have been allocated that amount to do all the work.

    Politicians and their family members must be totally kept out of charities (other than gracing charitable events). Far too many incidents of Rajapaksa family involvement in charities and getting into trouble. Help Hambantota, Siriliya Saviya, Pushpa Rajapaksa Foundation, Tharunyata Hetak, etc.

    Agree with Neela that we need such laws. Until then politicians must be kept out of them. Tell them to do their charitable work through the respective ministry.

  3. Randeniyage Says:

    Agree with Neela.
    Similarly, hotel at Malwana has no owner, so how to take legal action ?
    There is no point proceeding unwinnable legal action.
    This government has not passed a single law to close the loop holes but they are keeping them as they are and making use of them to steal.
    Will a party manage by such “patriotic” people save Sri Lanka ?

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