U.S. and Canada projects fraudulently allow corrupt actors within the former Sri Lankan government to hijack legitimate development rights and work products for a clean energy project at Hambantota Harbor by a Chinese state affiliate Claims to have helped.
From last year Sri Lanka Domestic Media The controversy was highlighted as the country owed huge Chinese debt and revenues from US and Canadian projects would have helped Sri Lanka pay off its debt to China.
In July 2020, Canada-based developer Greenlink Global Consulting Inc. (Greenlink) submitted $400 million claims for damages With the Attorney General of Sri Lanka. The proceedings will be referred to a court in Sri Lanka for a decision.
Greenlink also calls for the Biden administration to pass the Eagle Act in Congress. It claims to promote justice in such international corruption cases and further curb such transactions.
Work for not
In 2009, Sri Lanka opened its doors to foreign direct investment and invited foreign investors to do business at Hambantota Harbor. Then, near the Kerewalapitiya Yugadhanavi thermal power plant, more than 6 miles from the capital Colombo, under the flagship “Lanka Aloka” project, the first liquefied natural gas (LNG) power plant was launched.
Greenlink, along with its affiliates, was already involved in aerospace and defense waste-to-energy projects and high-end tourism in Sri Lanka and the Maldives. In response to the Lanka Aloka project, we introduced Sithe Global Power Inc (Sithe), a wholly owned subsidiary of BlackStone Group USA.
Blackstone is one of the world’s largest asset management companies and the world’s leading private equity fund. Ceylon today This first broke the story that Greenlink’s project was hijacked and continued to investigate the problem.
“After doing due diligence about it [Lanka Aloka] The project was canceled for about 6-8 months for financial reasons. We also found that Hambantota is the best place to carry out LNG infrastructure projects, “Greenlink President G. Michael Fernando told The Epoch Times. Call from Toronto.
“At that time, a state-owned Chinese affiliate was building Hambantota Harbor, which was underutilized. At the same time, given the proximity of international transportation routes to Hambantota, we are doing an LNG project. It was a great place for us. Port, “said Fernando.
Backed by a feasibility study from this extensive work in Sri Lanka, Greenlink promoted a $ 1.4 billion US-backed investment called the Hambantota Energy Project (HEP). In May 2011, we submitted to the Sri Lanka Port Authority a conceptual proposal for HEP to lease more than 70 hectares of land adjacent to the port for 25 years.
The HEP included an import and regasification terminal for liquefied natural gas and a cycle power plant for distribution to individual and industrial users along the coast. It was intended to support 1200 MW of electricity to the National Grid and to serve the coastal tourism industry in Sri Lanka, which is particularly contributing to Sri Lanka’s economy.
“Sithe Global has signed an exclusive memorandum of understanding with the Sri Lankan Investment Commission for this project. This is a Sri Lankan entity that encourages foreign direct investment. And this is fully aware of this project. It was recommended by senior officials in the current administration, “Fernando said, adding that the current prime minister of Sri Lanka was the then president and the current finance minister, Basil Rajapaxa, was leading the investment committee. after that.
“And there were US Embassy officials who witnessed the signing of this exclusive memorandum of exclusive rights to this LNG infrastructure project in Hambantota,” Fernando said.
At this point, Sithe has “non-disclosure and non-disclosure agreements” with two Chinese state-owned affiliates, China Harbor Engineering Company Ltd (CHEC) on December 19, 2012 and China Huanqiu Contracting & Engineering CORP (HQC) in December. Was signed. 24th 2012 to develop pipelines and regasification plants.
Fernando has been delayed to wait for energy reviews and policy decisions until 2015, after a technical presentation to the Sri Lankan government, including a presentation to the Sri Lankan Parliament in December 2015, Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Electricity and Renewable Energy Officials claimed to have “requested.” Greenlink speeds up the process by involving the Government of Canada in the project.
“Therefore, in February 2016, through the Government of Canada’s Royal Organization, the Canadian Commercial Cooperation (CCC), the Government of Canada informed the Treasury Secretary that it was interested in carrying out this project,” Fernando said. I added. For Canada to provide the country with a sovereign guarantee for a megaproject of this size.
“And the Sri Lankan government at the time was all officially informed by the Canadian High Commissioner of Sri Lanka, including former President and former Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe,” Fernando said.
The Epoch Times has a copy of a letter from then-Canadian High Commissioner Sherry Whiting to Sri Lanka’s then Finance Minister Ravikar Nayake on March 15, 2016, about CCC’s support for Greenlink. Fernando claimed that the High Commissioner received a reply only two months later, which lacked clarity.
Fernando claims that the former Sri Lankan government deliberately ran a pillar-to-pillar green link in spite of such high-end communication, and eventually the May 2016 Green Link “secret”. The project was provided to Chinese people along with a “feasibility” study. The MOU of Understanding with Affiliates in China was signed by Sri Lanka in July 2016.
“And while we were going through this process, two ministers of the Government of Yahaparana who were not in compliance went to China and handed over our project and feasibility study to them, so the problem is. , Former Prime Minister Lanil Wiklamachin and his office, his secretary, and adviser panicked saying they were unaware of these internal agreements signed between the state-owned Chinese affiliate and Sithe. At that time, globally, we assigned the project to Greenlink, “says Fernando.
He cited this as part of the lack of transparency of Sri Lanka’s former administration, as the then Canadian High Commissioner of Sri Lanka met with Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe on this issue in person. The Epoch Times contacted Wiklaminghe’s personal assistant regarding the dispute, but did not receive a response.
“This project was deliberately hijacked by one of the stakeholders, such as the Ministry of Power and the Ministry of Renewable Energy, and was definitely hijacked. [MPE] He said he would like to work on this project by contacting the High Commissioner of Canada, “said Fernando. He said it’s hard to understand how the project will be given to China after a decade of “green signal” to HEP.
“The other two ministers, the Minister of Finance and the Minister of International Trade, were well aware of this project, so why one stakeholder and one Minister of Electricity and Renewable Energy proceed with the project. Why are they going to Beijing at the same time in May and handing over our project to them when they are in contact with the Canadian government for? Basically, the research they handed over is our research. And was subcontracted under the terms of the consignment, “said Fernando.
In December 2017, Greenlink filed a formal complaint regarding the awarding of the project to its affiliates in China through then-President Maithripala Sirisena of Sri Lanka and a lawyer of the Ministry of Electricity and Renewable Energy, but no action was taken. It was.
Ceylon Times, with Sirisena’s consent, reported that Greenlink held a Sri Lankan lawyer on the mediation process on this issue in December 2018, but the process stagnated because a Chinese affiliate did not respond. increase.
The Epoch Times has sent letters to Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Treasury, as well as two Chinese state affiliates that have signed nondisclosure and non-disclosure agreements with Sithe Global to clarify the issue. There is no reply.
American eagle law
Fernando said corrupt leaders in a country may encourage stakeholders like China to benefit from taking advantage of leader gaps. The Eagle Act, which is waiting to be passed by the US Congress, could help address some of these issues and provide a fair playing field for international business, he said.
Ensuring global leadership and engagement in the United States, or the Eagle Act, was introduced in May this year by House Rep. Gregory W. Meeks of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. It aims to counter the policy challenges raised by China.
“The People’s Republic of China (PCR) is increasingly calling for weakening its rule-based order and challenging America’s position in it. We leverage America’s true strengths and seek to challenge it. We need to focus on the real challenges that China raises, “says Meeks. While introducing the law..
Fernando looks forward to the Eagle Act and hopes Congress will pass the bill as soon as possible. He said he was a victim of corruption that exists in international business institutions.
“You can’t change another country that wants to exploit the weaknesses of each country, but the problem is that it’s really difficult when we try to chase these corrupt politicians, leaders. It’s a long process. “Fernando said.
“At this point, business is happening rather than a place of equal competition. In other words, you would say it in a very inappropriate way! Therefore, this act secures certain areas through corruption. You may be liable and prosecuted for leaders in risky businesses! “