Controversial EPF transfers revealed at Presidential Commission into Bond Scam

Controversial EPF transfers revealed at Presidential Commission into Bond Scam

By Keshala Dias

31 Jul, 2017 | 8:28 pm

Did staff transfers in the Employees Provident Fund lead to a complicated situation within the division in 2015?

More on this situation was revealed at the Presidential Commission of Inquiry.

 Assistant Governor of the Central Bank, Ananda Jayalath,  who testified today, was the Superintendent of the EPF from 2015 to 2016.He stated two experienced people were transferred from the Department and Saman Kumara was brought in to the EPF.

The witness said he requested the then Senior Deputy Governor P. Samarasiri not to go ahead with the transfer, but his request was denied and the transfer would be for a period of three months. However, the two people transferred out, never returned to the EPF.

Saman Kumara was transferred to the EPF on June 8, 2015 with a letter containing five pages.The witness had placed Kumara to the middle office of the Department.

The next day, former Governor Arjuna Mahendran rang the witness and spoke in a threatening manner for not assigning Saman Kumara to the front office, especially to fund management.

This was despite being told that Kumara had a questionable role in dealing, he does not take responsibility for the placement of Saman Kumara in the front office as it was done against his wish and further stated he was aware that Kumara had direct communication with Arjuna Mahendran.

Ananda Jayalath said thereafter that  Arjuna Mahendran insisted that the EPF sent him daily reports on the transactions done by the Fund Management Unit, even if he was overseas.

The witness said his request for a voice recording system in the EPF had merely been noted in a document with a mention of Rs. 993,000 in a tender document.

He said that during his time, there was no such system installation at the EPF.

Commenting on an investigation report from 2016 regarding the conduct of the EPF in securities dealing, the witness said his report was given to Arjuna Mahendran and no follow-up took place regarding that until after the appointment of Indrajit Coomaraswamy as Central Bank Governor.

He could not arrive at firm conclusions in the report mainly due to the absence of voice recording but added that transactions directly with counter-parties aroused suspicion of collusion.he witness identified that Saman Kumara was involved in the pre-arranged deals with Perpetual Treasuries which involved Pan Asia Banking Corporation.

He added that Saman Kumara was uncontrollable due to his excessive use of the mobile phone and links directly to former Governor Arjuna Mahendran.

He testified that at times Saman Kumara exceeds the limit for a staff officer in dealing, which is Rs. 500 million per day.

President’s Counsel Anuja Premaratne will be appearing for Arjun Aloysius.The Counsel’s request to get another sim with the same number of his client was strictly objected by the state.

Additional Solicitor General Yasantha Kodagoda informed the Commission that the delay in returning the mobile phone is solely because Aloysius refuses to provide the password to his ‘I-Cloud’ account.

Counsel for Aloysius said the Apple 07 was purchased in Singapore and the only application downloaded was Whatsapp.

He added that someone attempted to login to the account from a separate computer.

Justice Prasanna Jayawardena informed the Counsel that either his client has a memory recall and provide the password to retrieve his mobile in 24 hours, or continue to have a memory fault and expect the device in due course.

Additional Solicitor General Yasantha Kodagoda told the Counsel that Aloysius either cooperates or be patient until the detectives find the password through other means.