Colombo International Container Terminals Limited (CICT), in a statement issued yesterday said that Rs.19,410,000/- (equivalent to US$150,000) had been donated in 2012 to the Pushpa Rajapaksa Foundation, in good faith, for the construction of houses for the less privileged.
The statement was issued in the wake of New York Times allegations that President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s re-election campaign received USD 7.6 mn from China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC) in the run up to 2015 January presidential polls.
Pushpa Rajapaksa is the wife of the then Economic Affairs Minister Basil Rajapaksa.
The following is the full text of the statement:
“This 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. 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 has already provided the required information on this matter to the relevant authorities. 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 CICT’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 programme 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 Campaign’ etc.
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.”