Minister of Finance Ravi Karunanayake said that the Government welcomes the decision by the country’s apex court, the Supreme Court, to terminate the long overdrawn Golden Key proceeding while granting its approval for the repayment mechanism of the Golden Key depositors submitted by the Ministry of Finance.
The Minister said that it was a culmination of a joint effort by the Government with other stakeholders including its depositors to resolve this long over drawn problems faced by the depositors of the Golden Key Company.
Karunanayake described this as a sign of good governance in which justice was meted out to the aggrieved parties with the intervention of the Government after six years. The previous Government, instead of providing solution to the problems faced by the people, lived on such problems.
The Hyatt Hotel Project in Colombo by the GK Company was acquired in a questionable manner by the previous Government and the cost of construction of the hotel project in Colombo was increased from Rs. 13 billion to Rs. 27 billion. The Hyatt Hotel project has two components including the construction of another hotel in Hambantota.
It has been revealed that Rs. 300 million has been spent from the Rs. 5 billion earmarked for the Hambantota Hyatt project even without the foundation stone being laid.
“This is the difference between the rule of law under the present Government and the rule of power of the previous regime,” the Finance Minister said.
The Cabinet of Ministers had earlier given its approval to the payment schedule proposed by the Finance Minister in order to solve the longstanding issues faced by the GK depositors. The Finance Ministry informed the Supreme Court that 41% of deposits would be repaid under three stages. Accordingly, the Supreme Court concluded the hearing of petitions filed by Golden Key depositors.
A sum of over Rs. 7000 million is needed and the Minister had proposed that funds for these payments could be recovered from liquidation of the assets of the Golden Key and the profits transferred from the CBSL.
The court has also lifted the freeze on the movable and immovable assets of the company and gave permission to the Central Bank to take all necessary measures to fulfill the repayment mechanism it proposed.
When the issue of the Golden Key Credit Card Co Ltd. depositors came up during the previous regime, the Government did not take any meaningful measures for proper intervention to settle the issue. Instead, during the height of the impeachment against the then Chief Justice (CJ), the Government had manipulated the situation by making the depositors agitate, implicating the CJ in the Golden Key issue.