Sri Lanka’s Distilleries expects ‘clarity’ over Pelwatte Sugar expropriation

ECONOMYNEXT – Distilleries Corporation of Sri Lanka says it is hopeful of ‘clarity’ this year over a subsidiary which was nationalised during the ousted Rajapaksa regime, despite it not falling within the criteria set in an expropriation law.

Pelwatte was listed in a controversial expropriation law enacted by during the last regime, where its land was taken over despite being in private hands over the time limit set in the statute.

However the law controversially banned legal action cutting out the judiciary, and by naming firms (ad hominem) it also cut out the executive action, in another controversial move.

DCSL has insisted that officials ‘occupied’ the land, but has also lodged compensation claim.

Pelwatte Sugar and Hotel Developers – another publicly traded firm – was expropriated by the state, but no money has been paid to shareholders.

"Following the occupation of the factory by state officials, the ownership of this property remains unresolved," DCSL Chairman Harry Jayawardena told shareholders.

"The Group has not changed its position, advocated since the occurrence of this unfortunate incident, of being the legal owner of the property and as such we have communicated our views to the Treasury.

"However, as a precautionary measure, the Group has also lodged an official claim with the Compensation Tribunal appointed by the State.

"We hope that some clarity regarding this untoward situation would be forthcoming during the new financial year."

DCSL as a former shareholder of Sri Lanka Insurance Corporation, which courts re-vested with the state, is supposed to get a profit share for the time it was managed by the group, under a court order.

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"With regard to Sri Lanka Insurance Corporation Ltd. (SLIC), even after a lapse of 7 years, we still await the payment of profit earned during DCSL Group’s tenure at the helm of SLIC," Jayawardena said.

"We are hopeful that the profit earned, which has to be paid to us as per the Supreme
Court directive, will be reimbursed to us as early as possible." (Colombo/Aug12/2016)
 

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