Leasing Hambantota land to Chinese: SC fixes petition for support on 3 March

Tuesday, 14 February 2017 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

By S.S. Selvanayagam

The Supreme Court yesterday (13) re-fixed for support on 3 March the Fundamental Rights petition challenging the framework agreement with China to dispose 15,000 acres of land for the promotion investment in Hambantota for converting debt into equity.

The Bench comprised Justices Priyasath Dep, Priyantha Jayawardane and Anil Gooneratne.

The Supreme Court on 3 February directed to file Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) of 2012 along with Affidavit in respect of the leasing of land in Hambantota to China.

Petitioner Vasudeva Nanayakkara cited  Prime Minister, Minister of Ports and Shipping and Finance Minister as well as the Members of the Cabinet, Members of the Cabinet Appointed Negotiating Committee, State-owned corporates of China namely China Merchants Port, China Communications, the Speaker, Members of the Constitutional Council and the Attorney General as Respondents.

Petitioner states that no bids/tenders were called from the open market and therefore the recommendation/selection of China Merchants Port Holding Company was no made in accordance with the Procurement Guidelines or the Procurement Manual.

He states that the said matter was handled without consulting the Sri Lanka Port Authority.

He states that Finance Ministry Secretary has still not finalised the concession agreement, and he fears that however the same would be imminently finalised and entered into by the Sri Lankan Government.

Petitioner laments that the selection/approval of the Chinese company and decision to sign framework agreement on behalf of Sri Lankan government is arbitrary, capricious, mala fide and illegal and unlawful.

Manohara de Silva PC appeared for the Petitioner. Romesh de Silva appeared for the China Merchants Port. Additional Solicitor General Sanjay Rajaratnam with Deputy Solicitor General Nerin Pulle appeared for Prime Minister, Minister of Posts and Shipping, Finance Minister and the Attorney General.

Chrismal Warnasuriya appeared for Dr. T. Lalithasiri Gunaruwan in a similar petition.