COLOMBO (EconomyNext) – Sri Lanka is battling corruption just like China, Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake had told Beijing’s envoy to Colombo, his office said in a statement, as 71,000 Chinese officials were punished for graft in 2014.
China’s ambassador to Colombo, Wu Jianghao had met Karunanayake at his office Wednesday.
Sri Lanka’s new administration had heavily criticized Chinese funded projects for inflating cost, through the use of negotiated deals.
Karunanayake had told the Chinese envoy that Sri Lanka hoped to strengthen relations with China but Sri Lanka was trying to clean up graft and create a cleaner country, just as Chinese leaders were doing.
China has reportedly jailed tens of thousands of officials in 2014 for corruption, (70,000 officials punished for violating frugality rules), Chinese state media has reported.
China has also jailed anti-corruption activists for several years along with the crackdown (China jails anti-corruption activists after high-profile trial).
Sri Lanka’s new administration had already suspended an expensive Chinese expressway project to the north of the country and is also reviewing a self-financed sea reclamation project.
Chinese funded projects also helped pervert Sri Lanka’s government state procurement system by helping by-pass a competitive tender system on a large scale, leading to billions of dollars of infrastructure projects done at high cost, critics say.
In many road projects similar tactics had then been employed by the Rajapaksa administration to procure projects financed by local banks, they say.
According to a survey by academics at Sri Lanka’s Moratuwa University, road and other contracts done in 2014 were overpriced by about 200 billion rupees.
China also backed the Rajapaksa regime as it violated human rights of citizens and journalists and others were killed in broad daylight in the capital Colombo and elsewhere, while other friendly countries asked the regime not to abuse citizens and improve rule of law.
Sri Lanka’s energy minister Champika Ranawaka who serves on a committee reviewing such projects said there were fears that China will ask for ocean economic rights after reclaiming the land. China is claiming sea around Vietnam and other smaller neighbors.
Sri Lanka has golden opportunity for a fresh start: Razeen Sally