SJB Parliamentarian Eran Wickramaratne speaking in Parliament on the debate on Express Pearl ship said that Justice Minister Wijedasa Rajapaksa also admitted that while Sri Lanka had the opportunity to receive compensation between 5.2 billion dollars and 10 billion dollars from the Express Pearl ship, 250 million dollars has been
remitted to a British bank account.
As this proves the extent of the corruption of the rulers of this country, it should be revealed to the country whether the police are investigating this corruption, Eran Wickramaratne, member of the Parliament of SJB, said while addressing the Parliament today.
Speaking further he said that the government should take proper steps to get the compensation for the environmental damage caused to Sri Lanka by the Express Pearl accident, which was one of the biggest shipping accidents in the world.
The world’s largest environmental damage caused by a dangerous goods ship was caused to Sri Lanka by this ship. After an accident, the damage to the marine environment may increase in the future, so it is natural for the companies concerned to try to limit compensation.
Wickramaratne alleged that although the affected country should calculate the compensation scientifically and get compensation for the country, it does not seem to be done properly by the government.
It is reported that the Marine Environmental Pollution Committee that was
appointed to assess the damage of this ship was the same committee that was appointed for the New Diamond ship that met with accident earlier.
There was also no transparency about the compensation received for the damage of the New Diamond ship. Why is it not possible to declare the amount of compensation received so far?
The MP questioned whether it is possible to believe that the would maintain transparency in the assessment of the Express Pearl ship, which
can be compensated much more than the previous ship.
The United Nations Environmental Advisory Committee is also paying attention to this issue, which shows the complexity of this issue, but from the Sri Lankan government’s point of view, the basic question is why it took such a long time to act on this matter.
According to the valid law, the period for claiming compensation for this is scheduled to end on May 20, 2023. So far, however, the compensation claim has not been submitted to the ship’s insurance company.
Is it for the purpose of turning this compensation into an underhanded deal? It is a fact that any person who owns a vehicle should get an estimate immediately after the accident and submit an assessment report to the insurance company to get compensation.
But this government has not done that basic things even.
Why is this government taking this case into the international jurisdiction? Is it a problem of our sovereignty. In 2008, there was a law passed by the Parliament of Sri Lanka for this purpose. Does the government not have confidence in our judicial system and our erudite experts on the subject?
When the Admiralty of the Colombo High Court has jurisdiction for this under the Maritime Pollution Act, why and what is the need to take these cases to the Singapore Court?
Experts have also stated that since Singapore has signed an agreement limiting maritime rights, the maximum compensation we can get by transferring this case to a court there is limited to 27 million dollars.
In the midst of such disadvantages and current circumstances, this government has delayed this case for so long and decided to put it in Singapore at the last minute, is raising many suspicious issues Wickramaratne questioned.
The people and the opposition have great doubts about the Express Pearl case and the insurance assessment report not being submitted, and the government’s action to transfer the case to a Singapore court, which is subject to limitations, and not investigating the remittance of 250 million dollars by the ship related party to a private account in Britain.
Wickramaratne emphasized that if the president is against corruption as claimed he is bound to provide reply and remedies to the people of the country.