Land valued at 500 M. sold for 85 M.

Land valued at 500 M. sold for 85 M.

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The Parliamentary Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE) is probing how a prime land belonging to BCC and worth Rs. 500 million had been sold for Rs. 85 million in 2002 by the then government, a COPE source said. A source close to COPE said that D.E.W.Gunasekara, the chairman of COPE and Senior Minister in charge of Human Resources, and other members of COPE had heard that a prime property, two acres in extent, which the government valuer had valued at Rs. 500 million, had been sold for Rs. 85 million in 2002.

“Mr. Gunasekara ordered the present management to submit all available documents and information about the transactions of the managements since 1988 — the year that BCC was made a public company — as no audit reports had been prepared and submitted for the last 23 years,” the source said.

BCC had owned about 12 acres of prime land in Colombo and had several extremely popular brand names for several essential consumer items and a huge market share. Mr. Gunasekara had said that, though BCC was now run on Treasury funds, it had the potential to become a profit making concern with sound management and financial discipline.  

COPE was told how almost all the previous managements appointed by various governments had run the state concern as their private property and plundered its assets.

Mr. Gunasekara had been keen to conduct a full probe through COPE and submit a report to parliament on the financial irregularities at BCC and to identify the culprits.

He had instructed the present management to submit all documents pertaining to the BCC management of the last 23 years, after learning that some assets had been sold at one tenth of their true value, the source said.

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