China Harbor Engineering Company (CHEC), which is a subsidiary of the state-owned China Communications Construction Company has made a proposal for the construction of new facilities at Hambantota Port in Sri Lanka.
As stated by HIS Maritime 360 report, the proposal made by CHEC is focused for the construction of an all-new shipbuilding and repair dockyard. CHEC’s proposal is part of the third phase of construction of the Hambantota Port.
However, CHEC is the focus of attention of the Sri Lankan government for investigation into dishonest practices by the former President Mahindra Rajapaksa. The former President, who lost the January Presidential election to Maithripala Sirisena, was well known to be friendly with Chinese investment in the country.
With the details from South China Morning Post revealed last week, CHEC has been accused to have offered bribe that would facilitate reelection bid of Rajapaksa.
During Rajapaksa’s presidency tenure, CHEC won a contract worth US$1.4 billion to construct the Colombo Port City, one of the projects that were frozen by the Sirisena administration after it came into power to review Chinese contracts that were signed during Rajapaksa’s presidency.
CHEC has negated all accusations as false and baseless and also rejected the idea that it bribed the previous ruling government. CHEC has called on all Sri Lankan officials and parties that are connected with the matter, to clarify misunderstandings against its responsible and cooperative partner, and prevent wrong signal to be passes to investors in China and other countries.
As per reports released last week, in spite of the investigation that was carried against CHEC, the company confirmed to have received the approval of Sri Lankan government to move on with a feasibility study for the additions that are proposed for Hambantota Port. As stated by Sri Lankan Ports Ministry, CHEC has also made a proposal to manage and operate the dockyard.