Kiriella denies corruption allegations

Minister Lakshman Kiriella. Picture by Tilak Perera

CENTRAL EXPRESSWAY TENDERS ABOVE BOARD:

There has been no irregularity in the tender awards for the construction of the third phase of the Central Expressway, Highways and Higher Education Minister Lakshman Kiriella said.

Kiriella denied all corruption allegations made against the Highways Ministry over the tender award for the construction of the third phase of the Central Highway by involving two Japanese companies.

The Minister said the Ministry has maintained high transparency and has awarded the project at a rate considerably lower than the initial bid and saved money.

“If we really want to get advantages by offering these contracts, we can do it without any issue like the previous government did.

Everybody knows that the previous regime awarded construction projects without calling for tenders. But we do not have such intentions,” Minister Kiriella said.

The Minister further stated that considering a request made by Japanese Government, two Japanese companies, Taisei Corporation and Fujita Corporation have been given the opportunity to form a consortium and begin construction work of the Central Expressway as soon as possible.Cabinet approval has also granted to offer this contract to these Japanese corporations.

“I want to complete the construction of Central Expressway as soon as possible to fulfill the wishes of Mahanayake Theras. Five districts including Colombo, Kandy, Kegalle, Matale and Gampaha will be interconnected with the completion of this expressway and it will positively affect the growth of country’s national economy,” the Minister said.

He further said that the COPE Chairman has no authority to question him with regard to this and can only ask for any clarifications based on the observations by the Auditor General.

“No report has yet been submitted by the Auditor General and he will submit a report by the end of this year,”Kiriella said.

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