Written by Keshala Dias
07 Mar, 2017 | 9:11 pm
Presidential Commission of Inquiry to Investigate and Inquire into the Issuance of Treasury Bonds convened today, March 07, as well.
T. H. B. Sarathchandra, Superintendent and Registrar of the Department of Public Debt at the Central Bank of Sri Lanka appeared before the Commission.
Sarathchandra was questioned by the representatives from the Attorney General’s Department on bond auctions and direct placements made after he was appointed to the post of Superintendent of Public Debt in late 2015.
T. H. B. Sarathchandra is to be called before the Commission once again on Wednesday, March 08.
Meanwhile, Governor of Central Bank of Sri Lanka Dr. Indrajit Coomaraswamy, was also seen at the premises of the Commission.
Meanwhile, the impugned treasury bond auction caused tensions to flare in Parliament today, March 07, after Opposition MPs raised questions regarding the statement made by the Secretary to the Ministry of Finance on the gazette in question before the Presidential Commission of Inquiry.
The discussion was as follows:
MP Dinesh Gunawardena: “The Ministry of Finance has published a newspaper advertisement relating to the gazette dated January 15, 2015. Is this not in violation of the Registered Stock and Securities Ordinance. What does the Minister have to say?”
MP Lakshman Kiriella: “It is wrong to speak in parliament the matters that are raised in the Commission. It will have a negative impact on the entire investigation, if the evidence given before the Commission is discussed in Parliament”.
MP Dinesh Gunawardena: “This is not an issue of the Commission. The Finance Minister has deceived the nation”.
MP Mahindananda Aluthgamage: “Persons providing evidence before the Presidential Commission are making open statements that certain matters were revealed to COPE. This is an insult to the Legislature. This is a serious issue”.
MP Ravi Karunanayake: “At a time when there was ruckus about the treasury bond issue, there was a struggle to appoint a Commission. I commend the President for fearlessly appointing a Commission of Inquiry. When considering the matters that are being exposed before this Commission, the small group in the Opposition have made it a serious issue. I continue to challenge former President and former Finance Minister Mahinda Rahapaksa. Why is there a delay in going to courts? Why are persons like Bandula Gunawardena and G. L Peiris responding to this? It’s been ten days and we are yet to receive word on this”.
Anura Kumara Dissanayaka: “The position of Finance Minister changed after the 08th of January 2015. If a period of a year is considered it will be from January 1st 2015 to December 31st 2015. However, the gazette is issued in November 2016. What happens in the whole of 2016? Those details are not included. From the 1st of January 2015 to the 08th of January 2015, bonds have not been issued. You could have issued it as Minister of Finance from the 09th of January. Then there will be no issue”
MP Ravi Karunanayake: “I revealed that this was done via the Superintendent of the Central Bank and not by the Ministry”.
Meantime, the Convener of the Voice Against Corruption Wasantha Samarasinghe noted that the Governor of the Central Bank has lodged a complaint with the CID, and as a result the CID has to immediately take legal action against those responsible before recovering the money that was robbed.
Samarasinghe requested the government to not let anyone interfere with this and safeguard the ones accused like how the IGP attempted to protect the Nilame through the minister in charge of the police.
“The minister in charge of the police and the former Central Bank Governor are like family members of the Prime Minister, so when someone from the same family has to take legal actions against them, there maybe a misuse of power”, he added, “The fifteen thousand million rupees loss from the EPF should be recovered. The accounts of Perpetual Treasuries should be frozen”, he said.
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