COPE chairman expresses displeasure, cites “inappropriate actions” over CBSL bond issue

COPE chairman expresses displeasure, cites “inappropriate actions” over CBSL bond issue

COPE chairman expresses displeasure, cites “inappropriate actions” over CBSL bond issue

Written by Tharushan Fernando

25 Oct, 2016 | 10:12 pm

What happened to the report of the Committee on Public Enterprises or COPE, regarding the Central Bank bond scam, which was said to be presented today?

COPE Chairman, Sunil Handunnetti said that it appears probable that two reports will be presented.

The COPE meeting which was convened yesterday suffered a setback as the committee’s Chairman Sunil Handunnetti walked out of the meeting, in opposition to the behaviour of MPs representing the United National Party.

Subsequently, UNP Parliamentarian Abdul Mahroof had continued proceedings of the meeting as COPE Chairman after which COPE members of the UNP had decided that a police investigation should be launched into the company of Arjuna Mahendran’s son-in-law, and that steps should be taken under the Penal Code.

One of the reasons which prompted MP Sunil Handunnetti to walk out of the meeting was the views expressed by UNP members regarding the Auditor General’s report on the bond scam which has already been submitted to parliament.

Chairman of COPE, MP Sunil Handunnetti noted that if there is a different opinion regarding the Auditor General, then that opinion could be included in the report separately, but that  it is inappropriate to get the Auditor General himself to make that change and present it.

“It was amidst this situation that I decided to walk out from my seat and the meeting, asking them to appoint whoever they want as an interim Chairman”, said the COPE chairman, who added that this does not mean he has permanently left the position as Chairman. But if that is required then the parliament can make a decision on that, he added.

He further stated that they are trying to hide this scam like hiding a tree in a forest.

“If they are saying now that they have concluded in their report that Perpetual Treasuries is guilty, how is that possible? How can only Perpetual Treasuries be found guilty and the Central Bank Governor is proven innocent?”, questioned the COPE chairman, who further noted that they must say if the conduct of the Central Bank Governor is right or wrong. But what they want to do is to drive this to their own objectives and manipulate the working committee as well as the entire country, he said.

The chairman elaborated on the fate of the COPE report amidst this backdrop, noting that the the draft that was compiled and presented was broadly discussed in the committee and was approved entirely by a group; while another group presented amendments and presented them as another report.

“We intend on presenting all of these reports to parliament during the course of next week. We have remained silent so far with the hope that they would function according to a fair and democratic syste.”, charged the chairman who pointed out that “this is not what is happening at the moment and if there is a report which they compiled, that should be presented to parliament and that is a report of the United National Party.”

He went on to state that there is a report as the Chairman and the COPE Secretariat prepared and this report has been approved by a majority of MPs. And the opportunity must be given for this report to be presented to Parliament so the people of the country would know the truth, he added.

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