Mar 14, Colombo: Sri Lanka's main opposition United National Party (UNP) says that large scale contracts are where corruption takes place while expressways have become the latest money earning method for some.
UNP parliamentarian Eran Wickramaratne told the media that the government has awarded mega projects to the tune of US$ 5 billion without a competitive bidding process.
He has said that corruption therefore takes place in these massive projects.
Citing Finance Ministry Circulars 444 and 444/1, the UNP legislator said they clearly stipulate that the government should not make any decisions on unsolicited proposals except with Cabinet approval in exceptional circumstances.
However, Wickramaratne said that unsolicited proposals are now the norm rather than the exception.
He noted that the Sri Lankan taxpayer is denied the benefit of companies competing for government projects and quoting the best prices.
The UNP MP criticized Treasury Secretary Dr. P.B. Jayasundera for a remark made by him that the government's rigorous tender procedures make big projects impossible.
"Some of these officials have already been taken before the court and admonished once. They will be held accountable before the courts again," Wickramaratne told the media at a news conference.
Wickramaratne also added that expressways are where the money is.
He explained that the Southern Expressway was constructed at about Rs. 900 million per kilometer for 96 kilometers and the cost per kilometer for the Katunayake Expressway had been double that amount, at Rs. 1.8 million/km.
However, he has pointed out that 600 times the money spent on E01 was spent per kilometer of the Kerawalapitiya-Kadawatha stretch of the Outer Circular Highway - Rs. 6.7 billion.