A trust set up by Liam Fox supposedly to help Sri Lanka’s development appears to have achieved nothing other than to pay for his trips to the country, one of his allies has told the Financial Times.
See the report here.
The Sri Lanka Development Trust consists of two funds, the “Sri Lanka Infrastructure Development Fund” and the “Sri Lanka Charitable Fund”.
Yet neither fund is up and running, according to Lord Bell, whose lobbying firm Bell Pottinger represented the Sri Lankan government until last December.
The Sri Lanka Development Trust is not registered as a charity or a company in the UK. It remains unclear who works for it, how it is funded or what it does, the Financial Times said
“I’m not aware that any activity exists yet or that anybody has invested any money in it,” said Lord Bell.
There have been discussions with the Sri Lankan government and the governor of the central bank in the country, he added.
Yet the trust paid for at least three return trips between London and Colombo – worth about £7,500 – for Dr Fox while he was in opposition in 2008 and 2009.
Emma Reynolds, a Labour MP, said it was “odd” that the Sri Lanka Development Trust “doesn’t seem to be doing any development in Sri Lanka”:
“Dr Fox needs to explain exactly what this trust is, who is behind it, where its money comes from and where the money goes.”
Lord Bell did not know how the Sri Lanka Development Trust paid for Dr Fox’s flights without other visible activities. He told the FT:
“I do not know an answer to your question. I can understand why you are asking.”
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