“Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe had told the truth here. Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa has burrowed money from the bank for one thing and done another, which has resulted in Rs.28 billion being unaccounted for,” he said. “If former President Mahinda Rajapaksa could prove otherwise, he should do so,”he added.
Deputy Minister Dr. Harsha De Silva was addressing a press conference at the Government Information Department yesterday.
He said, although the former President had earlier said in a statement that Rs 28 billion was a separate short-term loan which was negotiated between the Road Development Authority and the NSB, the latter
informed them that these funds had not been spent on which account they were released to the Highways Ministry, by the bank.
The bank has so far released Rs 49 billion out of Rs 55 billion loan. Mahinda Rajapaksa explained in a statement that the Rs 28 billion loan was obtained to meet payments of other road construction projects.
The Treasury has in fact issued ‘letters of comfort’ to the NSB asking them to release this short-term loan to the Road Developme Authority (RDA) to be settled later through the 2015 budget, said Rajapaksa. “However so,” said Dr De Silva,” the Prime Minister had received a report from the NSB Chairman though the Secretary of Finance Ministry, which had highlighted that out of the Rs 55 billion loan, that was obtained to construct 28 roads, Rs 28 billion had not been spent on the relevant projects where they should have been utilized.”
“The bank released funds to the RDA to construct a number of roads utilising Rs. 55 billion. Among them, the Anamaduwa Uswewa road section, Kadawatha Nittambuwa sections, Ambepussa Galewela, Jaffna section, Rambodagalla , and Madawachchiyaa section to name a few of them,” he said. “If the funds were not utilised for projects in the list, what did happen to them?” asked Deputy Minister De Silva.
Dr Harsha De Silva said,” you cannot take a loan from a bank to build a house and spend it on a car. You are expected to utilize the credit facility to perform the agreed task.There are financial regulations.”
“When we prepare the budget and when Parliament gives power to operate it, that means that the power has been given to spend money on specific tasks in the budget and for nothing else. The financial regulations has been there for quite some time ,” he pointed out.