Fairfax Media investigation in Australia states it has uncovered that emails of Snowy Mountains Engineering Company (SMEC) reveal President Maithripala Sirisena and his adviser had allegedly demanded a political “donation” to be paid by SMEC when President Sirisena was a cabinet minister.
It is alleged that the firm’s overseas staff bribed officials to secure a $2.3 million aid-funded sewerage project in Sri Lanka in 2011.
It is stated that the emails show a plot to skim the money off a World Bank-funded dam project in 2009. In return, Mr Sirisena was to approve the awarding of the dam contract to SMEC, worth $1.82 million according to ‘Fairfax Media’.
SMEC’s Sri Lankan manager, who had been recently sacked, wrote in emails to two Australian colleagues that he wanted to “inform the minister/coordinating secretary” of the size of an alleged kickback to be paid and that he needed to “prioritize” certain payments to unnamed parties “since the signing of the contract would depend” on it.
SMEC has confirmed a “request for a political donation”, but insists an internal investigation found no donation was made and the firm “continues to fully co-operate with the AFP.”
Meanwhile, President Sirisena in a statement has said he had “no knowledge of the incident” and requested further details to “ascertain the involvement of any of his office staff. The president also said he would co-operate “in any investigation” in Australia and “will also instruct the relevant local authorities to investigate”.