S&P Dow Jones Indices on Tuesday said it will remove Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone from its sustainability index following reports of its business ties with Myanmar’s military that has been accused of human rights violations after a coup. The Adani Group firm is building a $ 290 million port in Yangon.
In a statement, S&P Dow Jons Indices said: “Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone will be removed from the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices following a media and stakeholder analysis triggered by recent news events pointing to heightened risks to the company regarding their commercial relationship with Myanmar’s military, who are alleged to have committed serious human rights abuses under international law”. This change will be effective prior to the opening on April 15.
The company did not immediately offer any comments. On March 31, billionaire Gautam Adani’s port-to-energy conglomerate had said that it won the Yangon International Terminal project in Myanmar last year through a global competitive bid, as it sought to clarify on allegations of having paid $ 30 million to Myanmar military-controlled firm for the deal.
The land acquisition for developing a port in the main city of Yangon was facilitated by the agency under Aung San Suu Kyi’s government, Adani Group had said. Clarifying on ABC News report on $ 30 million paid to the Myanmar Economic Corporation in “land lease fees”, the group had said APSEZ won the Yangon international terminal project through a global competitive bid. “The project, fully owned and developed by APSEZ is an independent container terminal with no joint venture partners.” ABC News reported that APSEZ chief executive Karan Adani had in July 2019 met Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, the army chief who led the coup against the elected government.
The land acquisition for the project was facilitated by “the Myanmar Investment Commission led by U Thaung Tun, its chairman and Minister of Investment and Foreign Economic Relations under the guidance of Her Excellency President Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy government,” Adani group said. Without making any direct reference to the payment allegations, the group went on to state that it is like other global peers “watching the situation in Myanmar carefully and will engage with the relevant authorities and stakeholders to seek their advice on the way forward”.
“As a responsible corporate our intentions are to create investment-friendly opportunities in Myanmar through trade and commerce which have a multiplier effect on job creation for local communities and contribute towards the nation’s economic and social development goals,” it had said. Adani Group had gone on to condemn the violation of fundamental rights of all people and said it will continue to work with partners and stakeholders, including business leaders and government and non-government organisations, to foster a business environment that respects human rights.
“We are also working with independent think tanks to ensure mitigation of human rights violations risk and building an equal opportunity platform through sustainable value creations powered by critical port infrastructure,” it added.