It has been revealed before the Committee on Public Enterprise yesterday that loans taken for the construction of the Hambantota Port have not been repaid with the funds received by leasing the port in 2017, while the funds have been used for other purposes.
Accordingly, it was revealed that the Sri Lanka Ports Authority handed over the balance loan sum as well as the sum received through the 99-year lease of the port in 2017 to the Treasury.
It was revealed the money was used by the Treasury for state expenditure due to the low interest rates.
Furthermore, although the Treasury repaid the loan and interest, the transactions have not been diligently recorded.
It was revealed before COPE that when the port was handed over on lease to a Chinese firm, all oil tankers belonging to the Magampura Port Management Company Pvt. Ltd. was handed over while the loans obtained were not disclosed.
COPE recommended the Secretary to the Ministry of Ports and Shipping that immediate action must be taken against the former Board of Directors and advisors.
It has further been revealed that although the approved number of employees of the Ports Authority has not exceeded 9,990, recruitments have taken place in a disorganized and complex manner.
A discussion pertaining to the payment of overtime allowances of employees of the SLPA was also discussed by COPE.
The Committee revealed that Rs.1.17 billion was paid as overtime allowances in 2021 while the total overtime payment for the year was Rs.5.85 billion.
It was further revealed that nearly 1,500 unqualified persons have been recruited as work assistants while additional overtime allowances have been paid for persons with such skills.
COPE also revealed that certain employees of the Ports Authority claim 400 hours of overtime monthly.