Bittersweet Battle

July 24, 2007 (LBO) – A former minister who oversaw Sri Lanka’s privatization commission has gone to court seeking to block the sell down of a defunct sugar firm to a private firm. Sooriyaarachchi also alleged that the liabilities of Hingurana Sugar were not transferred to the new company. Sripathi Sooriyaarachchi, a rebel parliamentarian of Sri Lanka’s ruling Sri Lanka Freedom Party, went to Supreme Court asking for an order to stop the transfer of assets of state-owned Hingurana Sugar to a new investment vehicle.

The vehicle, Gal Oya Plantations, is a 51 percent government owned joint venture with Lanka Orix Leasing Company and Brown & Company, both listed firms.

Sooriyaarachchi listed 20 persons including Treasury Secretary P B Jayasundera, the brother of Sri Lanka’s president and his senor advisor Basil Rajapakse, Central Bank Governor Nivard Cabraal who was attached to the planning ministry at one time, former chairman of the privatization commission W M Bandusena and other officials as respondents in his fundamental rights petition.

He alleged that the transfer of assets was outside the proper tender procedure.

Sooriyaarachchi said originally four firms, Da