The Sunday Leader

How MR’s Architect Spun A Web Of Lies

by Nirmala Kannangara

Following Tuesday’s cabinet decision to suspend the architectural consultation contract offered to Muditha Jayakody Associates (Pvt) Ltd. (MJAPL) for the Akuregoda Defence Headquarters, questions have now been raised as to when the Government of Sri Lanka is to recover the overpaid consultancy fees from MJAPL.

Muditha Jayakody who is alleged to be a close associate of the Rajapaksa family was offered the main architectural consultancy work for the proposed defence headquarter project in Akuregoda by the cabinet of ministers on January 25, 2010. Since this is a contract amounting to an enormous amount of money, it was compulsory to follow government procurement guidelines. As Jayakody was a close Rajapaksa associate, the former President did not want the cabinet to know that this main contract was being given to an architect who was not registered with the Sri Lanka Institute of Architects nor had a company registered with the Registrar of Companies. Rajapaksa misled the cabinet of ministers stating that the contract had already been offered to MJAPL by the former Urban Development, Housing and Construction Minister Indika Gunawardena through a cabinet memorandum in 2000.

This newspaper is in possession of the said cabinet memorandum where it does not mention that this consultancy work had been granted to MJAPL but only has described the background of the project, the project proposal, action programme and the project implementation arrangements but nothing on contracts.

Meanwhile it is also learnt how Mahinda Rajapaksa as the Defence Minister misled his cabinet to get approval to MJAPL through a cabinet memorandum dated January 4, 2011 for the Defence Headquarters Project claiming that the cabinet of ministers in 2006 granted approval to the same company to provide consultancy for the Defence Ministry which was an absolute lie.

“The cabinet decision dated April 5, 2006 clearly shows that they have granted approval to MJAPL to provide consultancy services to the Colombo Military School Complex Project but not to the Defence Ministry as stated in Mahinda Rajapaksa’s cabinet memorandum dated January 4, 2006. It is surprising to note why Rajapaksas selected MJAPL to provide consultancy services to all these high value projects when Muditha Jayakody did not have any company under his name as he got his company – Muditha Jayakody Associates (Pvt) Ltd – registered with the Company Registrar on October 27, 2010 and with the Sri Lanka Institute of Architects on November 3, 2011 well after he was offered the architectural contract for the Defence Headquarter Project at Akuregoda. It has now come to light how Jayakody misled the Sri Lanka Army by claiming that he has 20 architects and 30 engineers working in his company when there was no such existing company at the time he was offered the two contracts,” a former Minister of the Rajapaksa cabinet said on condition of anonymity.

Although Muditha Jayakody has repeatedly stated that he has a team of experts in his company to provide consultancy services, it has now come to light that MJAPL did not have their own staff but had given a sub-contract to LACEP. It was only after the fall of the Rajapaksa regime in January 2015 that the exact details of this scandalous deal came to light. It was later revealed why Rajapaksas gave such large contracts to MJAPL including the Colombo Military School Complex project, refurbishment of the Presidential Secretariat, the building that houses the Financial Crime Investigation Division (FCID)etc seeking favours in return.

The cabinet memorandum present by Mahinda Rajapaksa as the Minister of Defence on January 4, 2011 had clearly stated that he seeks the approval of the cabinet of ministers to appoint MJAPL to provide consultancy services for the Defence Headquarters project. The cabinet memorandum paragraph states, ‘Appoint Muditha Jayakody Associates (Pvt) Ltd (this ministry’s consultant as per cabinet memorandum no: 06/ 0637/ 206/ 022 by the Hon. Minister of Defence, Public Security, Law and Order, which was approved by the Cabinet of Ministers on April 5, 2006)to provide consortium consultancy services during construction and to approve a payment of 5.5% of the total project cost for the services to be provided.

Meanwhile the cabinet appointed committee report on the said project clearly states how a cabinet memorandum dated June 25, 2014 had proposed to pay a sum of Rs.606.032 million to MJAPL on the basis of manning schedule but not on work they have completed. Hence up to May 31, 2015 MJAPL had been paid Rs.509.926 million which is an 83% payment against 30.02% of work completed.

“MJAPL had been paid more than 50% for the work he has completed. It is now up to the Chief Accounting Officer (Ministry Secretary) of the Defence Ministry to get these overpaid money recovered, otherwise it is a huge loss to the country. It is learnt how Jayakody is now saying that he is not ready to repay what he has been paid as Gotabhaya Rajapaksa will be coming to power very soon and he will be taking legal action against this government for cancelling this contract and will resume hic consultancy work under a Rajapaksa regime,” sources added. According to the committee report, the maximum amount MJAPL should be paid after the completion of Phase 1 of the Defence Headquarters Project is Rs.615.196 million and since he was able only to complete 30.02% of the job, he is eligible only to receive Rs.184.653 million. Instead he had been paid Rs.509.926 million which is an overpayment of Rs.325.272 million.

Meanwhile highly reliable sources from the Defence Headquarters Project Management Unit who did not wish to be named said that the payments for the consultancy services had been initiated from October 2011with the intention of completing the project by end 2014.

“It was on the instruction of the then Defence Secretary that this money had been paid. The payments for the consultants should not be based on the progress of the construction but on percentage of services provided. There are further allegations that MJAPL had been over-paid amounting to Rs.160 million for the consultancy service provided for the Colombo Military School Complex as well. This is public money and the government should appoint a parliament committee of inquiry and appoint Minister Sarath Fonseka who has a good knowledge of military affairs as its chairman and hold the inquiry where none of the fraudsters could escape the legal net,” sources alleged.

Meanwhile it is learnt that the land in which Basil Rajapaksa got a mansion built at Malwana is owned by Muditha Jayakody which he had admitted to the FCID and is alleged to have spent his own money to construct the building therein.

According to FCID sources, the money MJAPL had received through these large-scale government contracts had been used to build the Malwana house for Basil Rajapaksa.

“As a reciprocation he had provided free services for most of the constructions for the Rajapaksa family; his services had been given for Basil Rajapaksa’s Gampaha office and the house at Browns Hill, Matara which is owned by Basil Rajapaksa’s sister-in-law (wife’s sister), Ayomi Wickremasinghe who lives in Canada, which comprises four chalets overlooking the sea.

“When Muditha Jayakody was first summoned to the FCID he was taken throughout Colombo by the FCID to show them what buildings he had done for the Rajapaksas. He had showed them a four-storey building at Gregory’s Road, Colombo 7 and said that he did it for Gamini Senarath, the then President, Mahinda Rajapaksa’s Chief of Staff. When questioned as to how he obtained contracts for all these-large scale government projects, without batting an eyelid, Jayakody had in return questioned the FCID officers as to why Gotabhaya Rajapaksa could not offer him these contracts if former President J. R. Jayewardene could give all the major contracts without following procurement guidelines to veteran architect Geoffrey Bawa including the present parliamentary complex in Kotte,” FCID sources said on condition of anonymity.

Meanwhile the committee appointed to inquire into the consultant firms and related payments in its report has stated that MJAPL is a limited liability company with a narrow shareholding base and a single director.

‘This director has to bear the entire liability of the consultancy services. Measuring the complexity and scale of the project, the risk given to the MJAPL cannot be accepted. Based on the observations the committee is of the view that the architectural consultant MJAPL should not be considered for consultancy services of this project in future. The total cost estimate should be re-calculated based on accepted norms and by competent authorities. Accordingly consultancy payments should be decided accordingly and if there are any over/underpayments that have been made that will be adjusted appropriately. Further the consultancy fees should be made as per the cabinet decision – based on work done basis instead of man month basis. The committee is of the view that the future consultancy works of the project should be given to the CECB for the continuation of this project’ the report says.

 

3 Comments for “How MR’s Architect Spun A Web Of Lies”

  1. daggy

    Wake up J.R. FCID & record his statement as well.

  2. gamarala

    Rajapakse supporters enriched themselves with his patronage and most are still undetected.
    The 18 Billions are not yet traced.

    http://srilankabrief.org/2015/05/rajapaksa-family-deposited-18-bn-usd-in-foreign-banks-fm-samaraweera/

    The nation is bearing the debt burden due to the corruption.

    • Rushyy

      18 Billion , come on wake up he is the only president who has done something for Sri Lanka.

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