Written by Lahiru Fernando
20 Nov, 2017 | 10:34 pm
Those following the Bond Scam investigation closely know that the Presidential Commission of Inquiry into Treasury Bond Issuance sent a questionnaire to Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe in the recent past.
The questionnaire was a result of Premier’s name being mentioned multiple times during the investigation.
PM Wickremesinghe responded to the questionnaire via affidavit and the contents were not released to the public.
Now however, we at News 1st will be able to shed some light on the contents.
PM’s response to the questionnaire;
Premier admitted to being aware of Arjun Aloysius’ post as Director of Perpetual Treasuries Limited -prior to 2015.
When Arjuna Mahendran was to be appointed as Central Bank Governor, PM had insisted Mahendran must “ensure that Aloysius resigns as Director of PTL and not involve himself in the business of PTL in anyway”.
PM said he even insisted that Aloysius must divest himself of PTL shares.
Prime Minister says he conveyed these messages to Aloysius as well.
Mahendran had assured on several occasions that Aloysius would not under any circumstance play any role in the business associated with PTL – and it was in good faith.
Today at the commission;
Prime Minister Wickremesinghe said he was not aware of the share holding structure of PTL but was aware Aloysius had shares of those companies under his name or another entity.
He said he was not aware that Aloysius was a director of the holding companies even after 2015 and said Aloysius wanted time to dispose of the shareholdings in PTL to get a good price.
“I had no information that Arjuna Mahendran deliberately mislead me. There was nothing about that in COPE.”
At the time, the Central Bank Practice was to issue majority of treasury bonds by way of private placements.
This system was not satisfactory because it lacked transparency and also artificially suppressed market forces which should ideally determine the rates.
For these reasons, PM advocated the issue of bonds at auctions and directed Arjuna Mahendran to consider issuing bonds by way of public auctions in accordance with the economic policy of the government.
Prime Minister said he expected Mahendran would comply with due procedure.
It was expected that Mahendran would take appropriate steps in accordance with due procedure to give effect to the objectives of the government as expeditiously as possible.
Speaking on the matter, UPFA MP Wimal Weerawansa said:
“They engaged in day light robbery and got caught. Now the people who should be imprisoned are saying that PM appearing before the commission sets a good example. He shouldn’t be going to the commission, he should be going to jail. He should be wearing the prison garb. The economy of this country crashed because of this robbery. “
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