SLIC privatization judgment tomorrow

The highly anticipated judgment in the Sri Lanka Insurance Corporation (SLIC) privatization case involving a consortium of companies controlled by businessman Harry Jayawardena is expected to be delivered by the Supreme Court tomorrow.

The fundamental rights petition was filed in 2007 by politician-cum public rights activist Vasudeva Nanayakkara who asked the Court to probe the 2003 SLIC privatization transaction and to consider annulling the same, due to several irregularities in the process which caused massive losses to the Government and the public.

Around 38 respondents were cited in the case including Mr Jayawardena whose companies entered into an agreement on the sale and purchase of the entire issued share capital of SLIC on April 11, 2003.Other respondents include Milinda Moragoda, Charitha Ratwatte and P.B. Jayasundera who was former Chairman of the Public Enterprises Reform Commission (PERC).

A damning report by the Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE) released in 2007 by then COPE Chairman Wijedasa Rajapakse, detailed that the steering committee appointed in 2002 by Mr. Moragoda to oversee the SLIC sale had been done so without Cabinet approval. The report also said the steering committee has appointed PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) Indonesia to act as financial advisors to the Government in collaboration with PwC Sri Lanka, without Cabinet approval and for a lucrative contract.

The Attorney General, according to case records, has noted that SLIC made considerable profits between March 31, 2002 and the date of sale and that Mr. Jayawardena dictated the purchasing price and had not submitted proper audited accounts through Ernst & Young.

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