Jathika Jana Balawegaya (JJB) MP Vijitha Herath on Friday (22) claimed in Parliament that Sri Lanka had deposited USD 1.275 million to an account of a private company, as payment for the recently imported Nano Liquid Nitrogen Fertiliser from India, violating the due process.
“The treasury had requested the People’s Bank to release USD 1.275 million as payment for the import on 18 October. The due process for this type of transaction would be to make payments from the accounts maintained by the Ceylon Fertiliser Company Ltd. However, President’s Secretary Dr. P.B. Jayasundera had intervened and ordered the People’s Bank to open a separate private account at its Town Hall Brach under the name ‘United Farmers Trust Limited’ (UFTL) on 18 October,” Herath alleged.
Speaking further, Herath said after opening the account, funds of the People’s Bank had been transferred to the said company account. “Directors of this company are named as Mohan Perera, G.M. Weerasinghe. Who are these people? Are they public servants? The Parliament has a right to know how the payment was made to the Indian Farmers Fertiliser Cooperative Limited (IFFCO),” he stressed. Moreover, the JJB MP claimed the UFTL had paid USD 300,000 to IFFCO and another USD 50,000 as freight charges while another USD 37,000 as payments.
“This is only a part of the total payment. What happened to the rest of the money?” he queried. “Not only that, it has been also revealed that a Director of UFTL Limited had repeatedly requested People’s Bank to convert the remaining money into local currency. Why is that? This is a serious concern. I have to say Parliament has the monetary power. But we have been kept in dark on this matter until now.
The Government should investigate this immediately,” he said. Responding to the allegation, Agriculture Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage said it was the Indian High Commission in Sri Lanka which facilitated the fertiliser imports. “The IFFCO had appointed the UFTL as its Sri Lankan representative. That is why the Government paid the money to them and they opened the LCs for the import after that,” he added.
(Source: Ceylon Today – By Methmalie Dissanayake)