July 12, Colombo: Colombo International Container Terminals Ltd., (CICT), the Chinese company operating the Colombo Port's third container terminal says the Rs. 19.41 million given to a foundation run by Pushpa Rajapaksa, wife of ex-minister Basil Rajapaksa in 2012 is a donation in good faith.
In a statement rel3eased to media, the Colombo International Container Terminals Limited (CICT) has reiterated that its payment of Rs 19,410,000 (equivalent to US$150,000), to the account of Rajapaksa Foundation was a donation, in good faith, for the construction of houses for the less privileged.
In a statement prompted by media reports on this payment, the Company said 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.
According to media reports, the payment to the foundation was credited on 21 May 2012 by a check of Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank to the foundation's account at the People's Bank head office. CICT launched the work on 13 July 2013, for which payments are repayable in 35 years.
"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 said it has already provided the required information on this matter to the relevant authorities and 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 ClCT'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
"Once funding is allocated, CICT believes that the funding so 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.
Colombo International Container Terminals Ltd., (CICT) is a joint venture Company between China Merchants Port Holdings (CMPH) Company Limited, a listed blue chip company in the Hong Kong stock exchange, and the Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA).
Under a 35 year Build Operate and Transfer Agreement with SLPA, Colombo's third container terminal with a 2.4 million teus capacity was constructed in the Port of Colombo, Sri Lanka, under the Colombo South Harbor expansion project. CMPH holds 85% of the partnership whilst the balance 15% is being held by SLPA.