The headline news today is the question raised by civil society activists with regard to the coal tenders and the companies from whom coal is purchased.
Their objective is devoid of any fraud and clear - they speak for the country and for her well-being.
However, the issue here is that their question has given a space for hiding for the fraudsters to become fatter. Time has come to expose this sneaky attempt to spell doom for the country by using civil society activists without their knowing it.
As per the power generation plan for 2023 made in August the previous year, Lanka Coal Company decided to order 33 shipments of coal between October 2022 and April 2023.
First tender was sabotaged
The first tender was called in August 2022, with nine months remaining for the projected timeframe.
Following a procurement process, Russia’s Suek got the tender. It is a key supplier to the Russian government. Its bid mentioned a grace period for Sri Lanka to make the payment, thereby giving it a productive outlook in view of the prevailing economic crisis.
However, what happened was quite unexpected. Various vested interests in the power sector and organized saboteurs raised objections and the tender had to be cancelled.
While saboteurs were at work, something funny happened on the sidelines.
Another supplier called Swiss Singapore came to the fore with an unusual proposal that it wanted a 100 per cent advance payment to be made in dollars, after which the supplies would be delivered.
That worsened the situation.
How fair is it to support such a deal that would hand over the remaining dollars to a foreign company at a time when the economy was severely short of foreign currency? Swiss Singapore’s plan is not difficult to understand if a closer look is taken.
Underhand game by Swiss Singapore
Only seven months remained when the coal supply matter came up again in October 2022. Another tender was called in that month and LOLC and a Chinese company secured it. However, that tender suffered the same fate of its predecessor in quite a mysterious manner.
In the meantime, Swiss Singapore went ahead with its plan and started accounting for the country’s remainder of dollar reserves. The matter got covered up.
What happened next started with a series of events in November 2022. This time, Lanka Coal Company set aside the tender procedure and called for expressions of interest (EOI) to buy coal.
Under this, suppliers got registered under various names without any regulation or classification whatsoever. From among them, Indonesia’s Aristo Mittra was chosen to supply coal to Sri Lanka. But, it cited various issues and letters of credit and withdrew within a short period.
The hidden story behind the scam started to unravel at the same time. However, no one came forward to question it or to make the public aware of it.
A matter that directly affects the economy - that hidden story is revealed thus.
Swiss Singapore has so far delivered 21 shiploads of coal without any attached credit facilities to dry up the country’s dollar reserves.
The use of the sea route to transport coal is possible only until April, when starts the off-season during which that cannot be done due to rough seas. Normally, it takes up to 30 days for an ordered shipment to reach the island. Lanka Coal Company was told to equally distribute the remaining 12 shiploads among the second and third registered suppliers as per the EOI procedure and with cabinet approval.
Now, only 60 days remain for the ships to make those supplies. While the cabinet paper requires the 2nd and third suppliers to meet that target, it also contains an annotation that clearly points to an ulterior motive.
Cat is out of the bag
That annotation said in effect that if the 2nd and third suppliers found it difficult to deliver, the company that supplied 21 shiploads previously should be given the order. Indirectly, it allowed Swiss Singapore to make the country go dry on its dollar reserves.
Strangely, no one is paying any heed.
Civil society activists and the media target and attack the two transparently-qualified suppliers who offered credit facilities and agreed to transact in Sri Lanka Rupees.
These two companies have agreed to two key matters:
- Payments can be made in instalments on the basis of use of the coal once unloaded.
- Extending the credit period up to a maximum 200 days.
What is the hidden motive behind their being targeted for attack?
All this is no longer a secret, as it is now coming to light how these forces are using, for their commercial gains, the civil society activists who are fighting for a positive change in Sri Lanka, without their quite knowing it.
How shameless is that those who struggle for a system change are being used indirectly to their advantage?
Time has come to understand truth and untruth
- None of those who speak about a deal in coal refer to Swiss Singapore’s swindling of the dollars. Is it due to their ignorance or their made-up ignorance?
- Why no application was made previously to import coal on credit?
When Sri Lanka was not in crisis financially,
- Why did Swiss Singapore make no bid as per procedure at previous tender-callings by Lanka Coal Company?
- Why are the civil society activists still failing to expose the support given by infamous persons in the officialdom and in the state mechanism to Swiss Singapore that demands full payment before delivery without any flexibility while knowing the plight of the country’s economy?
Civil society activists have a big responsibility to expose the truth and the real fraud before the public.
These 12 shiploads of coal will be a decisive turning point in Sri Lanka’s power sector. For the first time, a credit period and acceptance of payments in local currency were offered to a country branded bankrupt. Is that a fraud?
Only two matters remain for the public and the civil society activists to clear up for the country’s future.
- Will the usual scam with state patronage be allowed to continue by expelling these two companies who are offering to supply coal in a transparent manner advantageous to the country?
- Or else, prevent the scam by exposing the plans by the fraudsters and the true story behind them?
The best joke in this is that in the past, we heard about politicians only who profited by aiding such scams. In this instance, Swiss Singapore is aided by a retired top official of the Finance Ministry. Is it that he is so much powerful due to his closeness to the president?
It is public money that gets pocketed by any fraudster. What are taken out of the country are foreign currency reserves that could otherwise have strengthened its economy.
Therefore, it is a must that this scam should be opposed. It is a must that its true nature should be exposed.
If not, what will happen is that conmen swindle the entire country by the backdoor while the masses take a break from their fight in the name of truth.
Let us identify the true enemy.
(Special Report by Truth First)