Sri Lanka: Avant Garde owes Navy Rs. 1.7 billion — AG’s advice sought

( December 18, 2016, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) The Ministry of Defence, Sri Lanka,  will consult the Attorney General for advice on how to recover more than Rs. 1.7 billion rupees due from Avant Garde Maritime Services Limited, the Cabinet of Ministers were told last week.

This amount, President Maithripala Sirisena, who is the Minister of Defence, has said was due to the Sri Lanka Navy. His intimation came in a memorandum he forwarded to liquidate Rakna Arakshaka Lanka Limited (RALL). It was accepted by ministers.

RALL, a security company, which was established during the previous Mahinda Rajapaksa administration, recruited retired personnel from the Armed Forces and the Police. This was to undertake security work in state establishments which were previously contracted to security firms in the private sector. The exercise assured jobs for retired forces personnel on attractive salary scales.

President Sirisena noted that the RALL had been established on December 6 2006 under the Companies Act No 17 of 1982. He noted that “due to the state of the national security that prevailed in the island during those days, it was essentially required (sic) to deploy the armed personnel to the duties in respect of the law and order…..”

He has added that this company had “fulfilled” its task of providing security to Private, Public institutions and Economic Centres. However, “due to the peaceful environment that prevails at present, it is observed that the necessity that prevailed for providing the security services to the State Institutions and the Economic Centres through a state owned security service is no longer required.”

The assets of RALL have been placed at Rs. 3,264 million. Among the liabilities Mr. Sirisena has listed are Rs. 160 million invested with it by Avant Garde Maritime Services Ltd. under a project for fishing trawlers and Rs. 2.5 million to be paid to the Navy at Welisara for storing RALL weapons. The other liabilities have not been compiled yet, he has noted.

RALL staff comprised 166 office employees, 1,972 personnel deployed on ground security and 420 deployed on maritime security. The office employees, who are on contract, will end their service in December. Other employees are to be attached to the Civil Security Department.

[ Sunday Times, Colombo ]

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