Connect with us

News

Buyers ditched as developer abandons proposed ‘CM Towers’ condominium project

Published

on

‘A Rs. 600mn rip-off’

by SURESH PERERA

Scores of prospective buyers of housing units at a proposed condominium project in the outskirts of Colombo have been ripped off for at least Rs. 600 million in, what was been described, as a “major scam” by a developer whose company now remains shut.

In the backdrop of a private sector bank announcing moves to auction the 42-perch site of the envisaged condominium complex as the developer had raised Rs. 120 million in capital financing against the property, distraught victims of the swindle bemoaned that they have now “lost all their hard-earned savings”.

“There are around 52 prospective buyers, most of whom dished out anything between Rs. 5 and 10 million each as downpayment for the apartments”, says Gehan Samaranayake, president of ‘Ramanathan Avenue CM Condo Buyers’ Association’.

He said the developer M/s Civi-Mec Construction (Pvt) Ltd., started selling apartment units for the proposed CM Towers condominium project at No. 14, Ramanathan Avenue, Dehiwala, in 2014 and began construction the same year with the approval of the Dehiwala Mount Lavinia Municipal Council.

At that juncture, approval was given to the developer for a G+17 storied housing complex encompassing 112 middle class apartment units with four floors for parking vehicles. The developer of the project, M/s Civi-Mec Construction, had only one director with a registered office at W. A. Silva Mawatha, Colombo 6. The land earmarked for the housing project was mortgaged to a private sector bank to raise funds for the proposed condominium, Samaranayake noted.

“After entering into sales agreements, we paid a considerable downpayment and continued honoring the subsequent monthly installments to meet the balance as the developer laid the foundation with piling in line with the approved G+17 floor building’, he recalled.

“However, with the change of government in 2015, we were told the new administration restricted the number to nine residential floors, and the reason adduced was that some officials responsible for granting approvals were demanding substantial inducements to give the green light for the original plan of G+17 floors”, the Association’s president asserted.

He said at that point, the private bank, which agreed to finance the 112-housing unit project, stopped further funding as it was considered non-viable to invest on heavy foundations and have only nine residential floors with 64 condominium units, instead of 17 floors.

The developer abandoned the project at this stage in 2018 and stopped paying the loan installments to the bank, closed his office and went into hiding. The desperate buyers made complaints to the Police, CID and the Fraud Bureau, with some opting for civil cases as well. Subsequently, the CID arrested the director of Civi-Mec, who was remanded and later released on bail by the Mount Lavinia Magistrate’s Courts, Samaranayake noted.

“There are many of us in the Association, who have paid more than Rs. 10 million each for apartments and according to our records, the developer has collected from the known buyers alone Rs. 600 million, without any interest calculated”, he claimed.

He further said that the bank, citing the default of Rs. 120 million loaned towards the project, exercised the powers vested on its board of directors and initiated the process of recovering the loan by auctioning the property by the end of this month.

Vacating an earlier stay order, the Commercial High Court has allowed the bank to auction the property to recover an accumulated Rs. 160 million, inclusive of other costs, he said, while adding that the bank has already given notice of the auction on October 28, 2020.

“Most of the prospective buyers of this proposed middle-class condominium complex are retirees, who had invested their life’s savings on what they thought would be their ‘dream home’. All their hopes have now been shattered”, Samaranayake stressed.

Repeated attempts by The Sunday Island to contact the

director of Civi-Mec Construction on the phone number listed on its website were futile as there was no response.

As indicated by the ‘Ramanathan Avenue CM Condo Buyers’ Association’, the developer’s office in Colombo 6 remained closed. As a result, there was no possibility of contacting the director concerned for comment on the issues raised by those who have now been left in the lurch after forking out millions of rupees.

“If the buyers of the condominiums had entered into sales agreements, we can initiate legal action against the developer”, says Sarana Karunarathna, Chairman, Condominium Management Authority.

“They can write to the Authority so that we can pursue the matter”, he noted, while adding that he was unaware of the developments until The Sunday Island brought the matter to his notice.



Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

News

Another FR petition to push back presidential election

Published

on

“19A subject to a referendum”

By AJA Abeynayake

Another fundamental rights petition was filed before the Supreme Court on Friday (12) seeking an order to prevent holding of the Presidential Election as the 19th Amendment to the Constitution has not been properly passed in Parliament.

The petitioner, Attorney-at-Law Aruna Laksiri, in his petition argues that the 19th Amendment to the Constitution was not properly passed in Parliament and therefore calls for a referendum to ensure its proper passage. He says that the 19A must be subjected to a referendum and holding a presidential election before that is a violation of the constitution.

The members of the Elections Commission, the Secretary General of Parliament and the Attorney General have been named as respondents.

The petitioner asserts that the 19th amendment strips the president of the power to dissolve parliament a year after it was elected. The Supreme Court at that time said the provision has to be approved by a referendum, before the constitution becomes law. The petitioner says the referendum was never held, thus 19A could not be considered a law.

He avers the Elections Commission is to hold a presidential election this year based on 19A and that it was unconstitutional to hold the election until 19A is subjected to a referendum.

The petitioner asks the Supreme Court to issue a ruling stating that holding a presidential election, five years into the term of the president, was unconstitutional. He also urged the court to instruct the Secretary General of Parliament to subject 19A to a referendum.

Continue Reading

News

Govt to start flora spatial mapping, eyes carbon credit trading

Published

on

Ruwan Wijewardene

By SHIHAR ANEEZ

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka is in the process of starting spatial mapping on all tree species in the island nation before going for carbon credit trading in the global market, Senior Presidential Advisor on Climate Change Ruwan Wijewardene said.

Sri Lanka has been in the process of carbon credit for more than a decade. Carbon credit is a way of compensating for emissions of carbon dioxide or other greenhouse gases.

If Sri Lanka reduces its Carbon Dioxide emissions through efforts like reforestation and large number of renewable energy projects, they will help the country to earn money through carbon trading from some other higher Carbon Dioxide emitting nations as compensation.

“We are doing spatial data plan. We have just put the plan to cabinet. We are still waiting for approval,” Wijewardene, the Senior Advisor to President Ranil Wickremesinghe on Climate Change, told EconomyNext in an interview on Friday (12).

“That is where we will map out whole of Sri Lanka’s every tree species, and what the carbon output of each tree species.”

“Then we have the knowledge of what our potential is in Sri Lanka. Then it will be much helpful when we go out to tap market for (Carbon) trading. The process will take two years.”

He said the aim is to earn money through conservation and projects protecting the environment.

The island nation is also in the process of drafting regulations to ensure the monetary benefits from a proposed 6,400 “Green Entrepreneurs” projects along Sri Lanka’s coastline, focusing on mangrove restoration and development.

“So, we can get youth in these areas while looking after mangroves they can see how they can generate some income through tourism and carbon credit,” Wijewardene said.

“Right now we are drawing up a framework – some kind of regulations how the carbon trading in the carbon market can trickle down to communities.”

He said Sri Lanka will have to go for certification from international agencies before it goes for carbon trading.

“The regulations we are trying is how the carbon trading money can be used by the communities and used in projects to conserve the environment.”

The government move to speed up carbon credit trading comes as it has planned to become carbon neutral or zero carbon emission by 2040 with a raft of large renewable energy projects.

The island nation has been adversely hit by the impacts of climate change leading to frequent floods and droughts across the country.

President Wickremesinghe at COP-28  in Dubai last year launched his ambitious plans on establishing an International Climate Change University, Tropical Belt Initiative (TBI) and Climate Justice Forum (CJF) in a move to gather all countries vulnerable to climate change under a common theme to bargain strongly with advanced countries to invest in their nations on green initiatives including wind and solar power projects.

Continue Reading

News

Wijeyadasa slates cops for enabling controversial video

Published

on

Justice Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe found fault with police on Friday for releasing a video footage of the interrogation of a suspect arrested in connection with the recent shooting in Athurugiriya, in which businessman ‘Club Wasantha’ was killed.

Speaking in Parliament, the Minister said that in the video, the police were seen questioning a suspect in public and allowing media access. “This is a clear violation of the law. Under these circumstances, the services of the police officers involved in such interrogation must be suspended,” the Minister said.

He added that releasing such vital information to the media while investigations are in progress amounts to contempt of court.

“This is an obstruction of justice. Under the current circumstances, I do not believe that the judiciary can deliver justice. The police have already conducted their hearing for the whole country to see, and now they only need to issue the verdict. The judges have nothing more to do in this case,” he said.

Minister Rajapakshe emphasized that the actions of such police officials undermine public trust in the judicial system.

Continue Reading

Trending