How Priyath Bandu sold ‘Cormorant’ as scrap iron
Lanka News Web has received details of how former Ports Authority chairman Priyath Bandu Wickrama had sold the ship ‘Cormorant’ for scrap iron. This ship was partly shipwrecked during the 2004 tsunami. The port management institute, whose chairman is the SLPA chairman, is in charge of dealing with such ships.
In 2007, a cabinet decision was taken to sell the ship in auction for the highest bid. At the time, the estimated value of the ‘Cormorant’ was Rs. five million. However, it contained 10,000 tons of iron, and the estimated rate was Rs. 500 per ton.  That began the chain of frauds.
 
Thereafter, without any tender calling, Wickrama entrusted his businessman friend Manuel Gratien with the task of dismantling the ship. The businessman has told the investigators that he gave Rs. 10 m to Wickrama, while the ship’s worth was mentioned half that amount.
 
Wickrama started having his own ways at the SLFP after Mangala Samaraweera left the subject ministry in 2007. 
 
Many more persons are involved in the fraud. We have much information about it, but we can reveal only part of it, because not even courts are yet to be informed. After that is done, LNW will make a detailed exposure.
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