|March 7th, 2014, 04:11 PM||#421|
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Krrish project on amidst payment delays
By Bandula Sirimanna
Despite a delay of 17 months, the Urban Development Authority (UDA) is confident that the Krrish Group will complete its due payments to lease the Transwork Square property for its long, overdue mega development project.
UDA Chairman, Nimal Perera told the Business Times that Krrish must make a payment of Rs.589. 7 million to close the land lease deal.
The total payment made by them up to now is Rs. 4.4 billion, he said adding that the full payment due is Rs. 4.995 billion.
He disclosed that Krrish officials are constantly in touch with him and the UDA is confident that the project will go ahead in accordance with earlier plans.
The issue of an additional 15 per cent land lease tax amounting to Rs 749.25 million will be settled with the consent of the Treasury as the relevant tax was introduced after the land lease agreement between the UDA and Krrish was signed, he disclosed. The final payment was reportedly due on January 31. The Ministry of Investment Promotion has previously given four extensions to Krrish to make the payment with penal 12 per cent interest, but it has so far failed to fulfill its obligations, Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardene said.
Payment delays have occurred since May 2013.
Treasury officials said it is yet to receive details of all payments made up to now by Krrish , a procedure that is followed in all mega and mixed development projects
In the case of other mega development projects like Shangri-La and CATIC, all payments up to date had been deposited in Treasury General Accounts, a senior official of the Finance Ministry revealed.
Meanwhile economic expert and MP Harsha de Silva, who raised several controversial matters pertaining to the deal in parliament calling for the cancellation of the project, told the Business Times that not only Krrish, but Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardene is guilty of misleading Parliament with regard to the Krrish investment on an unsolicited proposal.
The concessions approved for Krrish must be immediately withdrawn and the Minister should resign forthwith, he demanded.
“When the so called Krrish investors came in with their grand plans of constructing four ninety story towers with Minister Yapa waxing eloquent their credentials I was the first to say that this investment was never going to happen,” he said. What they were attempting to do was to pre-sell the apartments and collect the money and hopefully make the payment for the land; for which the Minister continued to give them favourable extensions way beyond what was approved by Parliament, he disclosed.
Why he gave so many extensions remains a mystery, he said.
The allegation of secret payoffs to keep the window open for payment and for various approvals ended with some unfortunate incidents, Dr. de Silva opined. Even though the name of the SEC Chairman Nalaka Godahewa figured in those allegations, he continues to head the regulatory agency and speak at forums on transparency and good governance, he emphasized.
“When I brought these issues out in to the public, the Government attacked me calling me unpatriotic and accusing me of scarring away investors. What has happened today? Who is answerable for all of this? Now when I am asking questions on other so called investors with even grander plans I am being threatened with arrest. I hope the people of this country will not continue to get duped by fly-by-night investors and various politicians who do their bidding,” he concluded.