Consideration of petitions against Yugadanavi deal concludes

The Supreme Court today concluded consideration of the petitions filed against the Yugadanavi power plant agreement.

The court stated that the decision on whether or not it will grant leave to proceed with the hearings of the petitions would be announced in due course.

Several parties including three Cabinet ministers had filed petitions challenging the government’s decision to transfer 40% of the Kerawalapitiya Yugadanavi power plant shares to the United States-based company New Fortress Energy.

The consideration of the petitions concluded today before a five-judge bench consisting of Chief Justice Jayantha Jayasuriya and Justices Buwaneka Aluvihare, Priyantha Jayawardena, Vijith Malalgoda and L.T.B. Dehideniya.

The court subsequently postponed until further notice the announcing of the decision on whether or not it would grant leave to proceed with the petition.

The FR petitions had been put forward by the Archbishop of Colombo His Eminence Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith, Venerable Elle Gunawansa Thero, Samagi Jana Balawegaya, former parliamentarians of Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP), Sunil Handunnetti and Wasantha Samarasinghe and a group including Ven. Bengamuwe Nalaka Thero, Dr. Gunadasa Amarasekara and Dr. Wasantha Bandara.

The petitioners had challenged the decision taken by the Cabinet of Ministers to transfer shares in West Coast Power Limited (WCP) – the owner of the 310 MW Yugadanavi Power Plant to the US-based New Fortress Energy, claiming that this move was not justified.

They also alleged that the Cabinet of Ministers had failed to focus on issues such as the national economy and national security before taking this decision.

The New Fortress Energy, issuing a statement, had announced that it will acquire a 40% ownership stake in the WCP and plans to develop a new liquefied natural gas (LNG) receiving, storage and regasification terminal located off the coast of Colombo.

The Cabinet of Ministers including Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, West Coast Power Limited, New Fortress Energy and the Attorney General are among the respondents named in the applications.

The petitioners had claimed that the government has not properly explained particulars of the deal even to the Cabinet of Ministers when tabling the proposal. They also accused the government of failing to obtain the approval of the Parliament for signing the agreement in question and that the relevant share transfer process had not been carried out in accordance with a formal tender procedure.

Meanwhile the Supreme Court yesterday heard that the three ministers who have filed petitions against the Yugadanavi power plant share transfer deal have acted in breach of the collective responsibility of the Cabinet.

Making submissions yesterday, the Attorney General, therefore, requested the court to nullify the petitions, without taking them up for consideration.

He said that every Cabinet minister is bound to protect its collective responsibility and to answer to the Parliament, and that Ministers Udaya Gammanpila, Wimal Weerawansa and Vasudeva Nanayakkara have breached this collective responsibility by coming before the court against a decision taken by the Cabinet. – ada derana

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