Tele Case

Feb 25, 2008 (LBO) – Legal action against the sale of Sri Lanka Telecom shares held by Japan’s NTT is to continue despite the death of the original petitioner, a reporter at the courthouse said. The next hearing of the case would be on March 10.

Sri Lanka’s supreme court halted the sale of shares of the country’s largest fixed access operator to a Malaysian firm in June 2007 following a fundamental rights petition by lawmaker Sripathi Sooriyaarachchi.

Former ports minister Managala Samaraweera who broke away from the ruling Sri Lanka Freedom party with Sooriyaarchchi last year has been substituted to take forward the petition in court.

Sooriyaarchchi died in a car crash earlier in February.

Samaraweera who addressed reporters after the court hearing said he would continue with the case.

He was the telecom minister when Sri Lanka Telecom was first privatized to NTT.

Japan’s NTT which holds a 35.2 percent stake in Sri Lanka Telecom was negotiating to sell a 25.3 percent stake of the telco to the Usaha Tegas group of Malaysia controlled by billionaire Ananda Krishnan.

NTT has a contract to manage Sri Lanka Telecom which expires as soon as its stake falls below 1