The opening of the Colombo Lotus Tower was marred by claims of a major scam linked to the deal in 2012.
Speaking at the opening of the tower, President Maithripala Sirisena said that in 2012 a Chinese company had been paid Rs. 2 billion by the then Government as part of the deal for the project.
He said that the money had been paid to Aerospace Long-March International Trade Co. Ltd (ALIT) in China.
However, Sirisena, who was elected President in 2015, said that by 2016 there was no sign of ALIT.
As a result, the President said that there was no sign of the Rs. 2 billion which was paid by the then Government for the project.
The President said that he had launched an investigation through the Sri Lankan Embassy in China and found that there was no company named ALIT at the given address in China.
Sirisena said that later the current Government resumed construction of the tower using public funds.
He said that the tower was constructed using a loan obtained from China’s EXIM Bank which Sri Lanka needs to pay back.
The President said the tower has been constructed using money which could have been used to pay public sector salaries, purchase medicine, etc.
Sirisena said that more money is needed to fully complete the project. (Colombo Gazette)