I still believe H’tota Port deal was corrupt – Wijeyadasa

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Justice Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe reiterated that the Hambantota Port deal was corrupt and that he was outspoken about it at the time and still stand by it.

“I have not changed my mind on that and still there are three pending cases at the Supreme Court, one of which is about the 25-year tax breaks granted to China Merchants Port Holdings (CMPH),” he said.

On 3 January 2022, while in the Opposition Rajapakshe wrote to the Chinese President Xi Jinping stating that that Hambatota Port was the most corrupt transaction to take place in the history of Sri Lanka.

“I stand by it and there is no change in my mind regarding it and have the same views,” he said.

His letter to Xi warned that the next national election, whether presidential or parliamentary, would be combined with a referendum to seek a mandate from the people to restructure or cancel all agreements/contracts that are harmful or disadvantageous to Sri Lanka. It would also apply to transactions secured by China through corruption, he said, adding that Sri Lanka would not be obligated to repay any loans obtained through such contracts.

“Yes, I wrote so and surely if I have the power I will certainly do that,” he told Ceylon Today.

“I accused the President of Sri Lanka and went to Court also and brought lots of changes to the Port City Commission Bill where 29 sections were changed,” he added citing that it happened due to his intervention.

“It is not what I expect from the legal cases but the final decision is with the Supreme Court and cannot go beyond that.  We will proceed with the cases filed against the Hambantota Port” he said adding that he would not be able to do it now as the Minister of Justice but some other lawyer will continue with the case.

By Sulochana Ramiah Mohan