President opens Gotabaya’s white elephant Defence Building

President opens Gotabaya’s white elephant Defence Building

8 November 2019 05:00 pm

Pentagon style Defence head quarters building complex in Akuregoda, Gotabya Rajapksa’s pet project when he was defense secretary was opened by President Maithripala Sirisena on Friday 08 probably his final public event as the president

In 2011, Project was launched at an estimated cost of Rs.8 billion to house the  army, navy and air force headquarters from Galle face green to Battaramulla, under Government plan to shift the all government administrative complexes to the same area, officials said.

The project commenced during the tenure of former Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa. Then Government has allocated Rs.25 billion for this project.

In 2015, after the election, construction of this complex temporary halted due to non-availability of funds. But the construction work resumed on the directions of the president and it has to be suspended again due to heavy expenses and lack of funds, they said.

The Administrative Building Complex comprised eight nine storied buildings with total floor area of 12,335 square meters  to house the Ministry of Defense, Office of the Chief of Defense staff, Headquarters of Sri Lanka Army, Sri Lanka Navy, Sri Lanka Air Force.

The project commenced during the tenure of former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa who took measures to use the US$ 125 million earned from the Galle Face land sold to Shangri-La Hotels by the previous regime.

The money was deposited in a special account to build the Pentagon style Defence Headquarters building at Battaramulla, an inquiry conducted by the committee appointed by the government revealed.

The Galle Face prime land was sold to Shangri-La Hotels out right by the previous regime going against the land transaction statutes at that time.

The estimated cost amounting to Rs. 25 billion in 2011 on construction works had increased up to Rs.55.60 billion due to amendment of the designs of the constructions subsequently.

The offices remained in the Sri Lanka Army Headquarters located at Galle Face area had been shifted to other government and private owned buildings in Colombo and suburbs and located since 2011.

It was observed that building rents amounting to Rs 1,566 million had been spent up to 31 December 2018.

This construction is expected to save more than Rs. 50 million per month spent on the buildings rented to establish various branches of the Army in Colombo and its suburbs.