No invoices for nearly 100 coal ships | Sunday Observer

No invoices for nearly 100 coal ships

Ministry says new LCC Management clearing junk:

LCC, CEB, Shipping Corporation involved in the process:

The Lanka Coal Company (LCC) has failed to clear invoices for nearly 100 ships that have transported coal to Sri Lanka, since 2009.

Speaking to the Sunday Observer, a highly placed ministry source said nearly 150 ships had transported coal to Sri Lanka over the past seven years.

“But, the invoices have been cleared for only 50 ships. As a result, we are still in the dark about payments made in relation to nearly 100 ships. These transactions involve billions of rupees,” the Ministry official said.

“Investigating this will be opening a can of worms: There will be many shocking revelations on financial irregularities and procedural violation,” he added.

Clearing invoices for ships transporting coal to Sri Lanka is one of the main tasks of the Lanka Coal Company (LCC), functioning under the Ministry of Power and Energy.

When contacted by the Sunday Observer, Secretary to the Power and Energy Ministry Dr. B.M. S. Batagoda said the new management of the Lanka Coal Company was in the process of clearing these outstanding invoices.

“The new management of the LCC, the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) and the Shipping Corporation are working on the issue. This is one reason why the Ministry appointed an Acting Chairman to the LCC, whose board of directors was dissolved by the minister recently,” Batagoda explained.

The Ministry Secretary said some ‘serious issues’ of this nature on the part of the LCC management had compelled the Power and Energy Minister to dissolve the board in the first place.

When asked those issues would be sent to the Financial Crimes Investigations Division (FCID) of the Police for further investigation Batagoda said the decision should be made by political authorities.

“We have done our part. We have informed the political authorities of our findings and the alleged irregularities in the past. The decision on further investigations would be made by them,” he said.

Batagoda had sent a letter to Minister Ranjith Siyambalapitiya in January, prompting him to dissolve the board of directors at the LCC and call a share holders meeting. Speaking to the media at the time Batagoda drew attention to a report by the Auditor General that highlighted many issues at the LCC.

Our attempts to contact former LCC Chairman Maithri Gunaratne on the matter of outstanding invoices were unsuccessful.