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Yugadanavi-NFE agreement: Cabinet to discuss concerns

12 Dec 2021

  • Several cabinet ministers concerned over alleged violation of cabinet paper
  • Ministers Weerawansa, Gammanpila, Nanayakkara file 58-page observation before SC
By Our Political Editor Several cabinet ministers have raised concerns over some of the content in the agreement signed by the Treasury, with US-based New Fortress Energy Inc. (NFE), on purchasing shares of the Yugadanavi Power Plant, after the agreement was submitted to the Cabinet of Ministers two weeks ago, The Sunday Morning learnt. Three Cabinet Ministers – Wimal Weerawansa, Udaya Gammanpila, and Vasudeva Nanayakkara – had submitted observations about the content of the agreement to the Cabinet. The Ministers had also filed a 58-page observation before the Supreme Court (SC) against the Yugadanavi agreement through private counsel, it is learnt. The rest of the Cabinet is represented by the Attorney General in the SC case. Meanwhile, several government ministers had publicly said they would not support any agreement that was not favourable to the country. A senior government minister told The Sunday Morning that there were concerns over the agreement violating a Cabinet decision. The Minister explained that the Cabinet of Ministers were presented a cabinet paper stating that an agreement was to be signed with US-based NFE, but the agreement was signed with another entity. The controversial Yugadanavi agreement was tabled in Parliament last Friday (10) by Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) Leader MP Anura Kumara Dissanayake. According to the agreement, the deal was signed with NFE Sri Lanka Power Holdings LLC based in Delaware, US. Minister Weerawansa told the media yesterday (11) that there were concerns over the agreement being signed by a company other than which was referred to in the cabinet paper, and that the Cabinet of Ministers would discuss the issue. “The Cabinet was to discuss the agreement that was presented to it two weeks back. We were to discuss it at the last meeting, but we couldn’t discuss it then. However, we will discuss these issues at the next meeting,” Weerawansa said. Senior Power Ministry and Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) officials were called to explain the agreement to the Cabinet of Ministers last Monday (6). However, the presentation was postponed to this week. Meanwhile, the SC will take up the fundamental rights (FR) petitions filed against the Yugadanavi agreement on Thursday (16) and Friday (17). In October, Ven. Elle Gunawansa Thera, His Eminence Archbishop of Colombo Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith, Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) General Secretary Ranjith Madduma Bandara, and some office bearers of the JVP filed a petition against the Government’s decision to hand over 40% of the shares of the Yugadanavi Power Plant to NFE, along with a monopoly over supplying LNG.

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