Sri Lanka’s highways ministry replies former president Rajapakse; RDA obtained loans providing false docs

June 1, 2015 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Highways and Investment Promotion says road development funds has been misused during the Rajapakse regime and the Road development Authority has even obtained a loan from National Savings Bank providing false documents during the period.

The ministry said this in a statement today, in replying to an avowal of former President, Mahinda Rajapaksa, who was quoted as saying that the current Ministry of Highways and Investment Promotion is unable to complete certain road projects due to the misuse of funds.

According to the statement, in 2014 the Mahinda Rajapaksa headed Ministry of Ports and Highways has obtained an out of budget loan from several local banks amounting to 151 billion rupees for twenty eight (28) road projects.

From that, about 55 billion rupee loan was obtained from the National Savings Bank (NSB).

The ministry says that the Road Development Authority (RDA) drew out an advance of 28 billion rupees from the NSB’s 55 billion loan.

“Approval for this drawdown was based on falsified progress reports produced by the RDA related to the bank funded road projects.”

However the RDA lent 3.7 billion rupees to the Ministry of Ports and Highways for the repayment of outstanding bills.

“This is in defiance of financial regulations which state that the RDA cannot lend money to the Ministry,” the ministry statement reads.

“A further 18.1 billion rupees was used to repay local segments of several foreign funded projects,”

“However, financial records indicate that only 6.14 billion rupees was required for repayment. The balance funds have remained unaccounted for,”

The road projects which are being funded by these local bank loans were awarded following unsolicited tenders, the ministry says.

“Due to the misuse of funds during the previous regime, many contractors have been unable to continue their work on road projects due to unavailability of funds.”