Bond Scam inquiry: Leaked reports, letters ‘hotly disputed’ by AG’s Dept

Bond Scam inquiry: Leaked reports, letters ‘hotly disputed’ by AG’s Dept

Written by Lahiru Fernando

16 May, 2017 | 10:51 pm

Monday, May 15 – A leaked draft report from the Central Bank of Sri Lanka was presented before the Presidential Commission of Inquiry. The report deemed to contain market sensitive information and was presented by the attorney representing the former CBSL Governor Arjuna Mahendran.

The report -prepared by the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank Group, provides technical advice on creating a system to issue government securities in the future. It had been submitted to the Central Bank in December 2016.

Upon being produced, witness Nandalal Weerasinghe, Deputy Governor of CBSL, raised concern on its disclaimer which read – approval must be obtained from respective authorities, if given to a third part outside IMF and the World Bank Group.

Surprised pver the report being produced before the commission, the AG’s Dept and the commission questioned as to how it came to the hands of Mahendran’s attorney, who claimed to have “privilege to the document”.

Despite it being leaked, the attorney charged that CBSL has been hiding the report from the commission during a time government securities are being investigated by the very commission.

Responding to Mahendran’s attorney, the Additional Solicitor General made it clear that the commission has noted that material under review and reform should not be submitted as they are still in the process of being finalised.

However, the report was admitted as evidence after Dr. Weerasinghe contacted the governor and obtained approval to comment on it.

The commission was informed that CBSL Governor has expressed concern over the leak. Dr. Weerasinghe said that the CBSL will probe into how the report was leaked.

Tuesday, May 16 – Following the previous leaked document, the commission was presented with another document by the same attorney, The document was hotly disputed by the Attorney General’s Department.

The document, a letter, is said to have been sent by Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake following a meeting on February 26, 2015.

As testified by Dr. Weerasinghe, the meeting was attended by Ministers Kabir Hashim, Ravi Karunanayake and Malik Samarawickrama (adviser to the PM at the time).

According to Dr. Weerasinghe’s revelation, the meeting resulted in a decision to prepare a report reviewing the outstanding payments of stalled road projects at that time -f or which the Road Development Authority sought funding. Dr. Weerasinghe stated that he was asked to collate and tabulate the outstanding payments.

His work was then submitted to Finance Minister on March 3, 2015 through Arjuna Mahendran, the former CBSL Governor.

The witness, Dr. Weerasinghe, said he was not aware whether the Finance Ministry had reached a decision to make the outstanding payments.

When questioned on Mahendran’s call to remove the standard deposit rate of 5%, the witness said “such a decision should have been taken by the monetary board, but was not”.

Dr. Nandalal Weerasinghe will testify before the Commission again on Wednesday, May 17.

Await further details…

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