Sri Lanka’s new government is reviewing all investment projects signed by the previous administration. Chinese companies, awarded the majority of those deals, are at the center of the storm. Sri Lanka’s new finance minister, Ravi Karunanayake, says Chinese firms “used the opportunity of a corrupt regime to crowd out other companies”. CNNMoney and Business Insider report.
At the center of the storm is a $1.4-billion port city project in Colombo, Sri Lanka’s largest city and commerical hub, which has since been put on hold. Business Insider reports Sri Lanka’s new president, Maithripala Sirisena, has ordered a review of 35 investment projects, 28 of those are believed to be Chinese-funded. [See: Sri Lanka intensifies scrutiny of Chinese projects]
In an interview with CNNMoney, Sri Lanka’s new finance minister, Ravi Karunanayake, said:
“The Chinese companies used the opportunity of a corrupt regime to crowd out other companies coming in. There was no even playing field.”
Bridges were built where there were no rivers, he said. Airports were constructed in the middle of nowhere. “That was the type of corruption that was going on,” he said.
Asked which deals were tainted by corruption, Karunanayake replied with a question of his own: “Which deals weren’t?”
Although, it wasn’t just Chinese companies, said Karunanayake: “It was basically anybody who achieved their objective, to get money in their pockets.” [See: Did China profit from corrupt Sri Lanka deals?]