Australia takes up issue of non-payment of dues
External Affairs Minister S M Krishna today assured the Australian government that he would take up the matter of non-payment of dues to companies for Commonwealth Games-related work after the issue featured in his talks with Kevin Rudd.world Updated: Jan 21, 2011 00:40 IST
Australia on Thursday raised with India the non-payment of bills to its companies by the Commonwealth Games (CWG) Organising Committee (OC). Australia's foreign minister Kevin Rudd took up the issue with his Indian counterpart SM Krishna.
Krishna, who is visiting Australia, has assured Rudd that the matter would be taken up soon. Various reports also suggest that Australian companies have been preparing a lawsuit against the OC over millions of dollars that were allegedly not paid.
"It has been brought to my notice and I will go back to India and take it up with the sports ministry," Krishna said and the Australian minister expressed satisfaction over the assurance.
"We are comfortable about the Indian government's response... These matters are well in hand," Rudd said.
Referring to the Australian companies, Rudd said the private contractual arrangement made by these companies was a responsibility of the CWG authority.
He said the government would work with the companies to ensure that they got their payments.
There are reports in the Australian media that events organiser Ric Birch had commissioned a law firm to draw up a multi-million dollar lawsuit against the Games organisers. The lawsuit would involve at least four of Australia's biggest major event firms, including his company.
MoS sports and youth affairs Ajay Maken was not too happy with the news. He said that money should be dispatched as soon as possible to the companies concerned.
He said, "I have directed the sports secretary to speak to the government nominees in the OC to verify legitimate payments and I have given them 10 days time to sort out the issue."
Kalmadi's press statement
Games OC chairman Suresh Kalmadi released a statement where he claimed that 85% contracted amount to Ric Birch had already been released, while the rest had been pending due to "under-performance" as raised by the event's creative director, Bharat Bala.
On payments due to two other Australian firms, Howard and Sons and Norwest, Kalmadi said full payment was being released after getting proper taxation advice and receiving original invoices.