Highways Minister Lakshman Kiriella said today the agreement to hand over the construction work on the Central Expressway would be signed with the Japanese Company, Taisai next week.
He told a news conference that the Cabinet had approved the decision to do so.
The minister said there had been no malpractice in the tender procedure and that they were able to reduce the Taisai bid from Rs.159 billion to Rs.134.9 billion after discussions.
He said the work on the Central Expressways was to have begun in August last year but it was delayed because of the tender procedure.
“The previous government gave contracts on building expressways without any tender procedures,” the minister said.
He said some people were opposed to building the central expressway and recalled that the UNP government planned to construct it in 2002 but was unable to do so because the then government was toppled.
The minister said he was not prepared to respond to COPE Chairman Sunil Hadunnetti, who did not have any expert knowledge on expressways but would do so should the Attorney General raise any queries on any matter.