What’s happening to the Bond Inquiry?

Zulfick Farzan

COLOMBO (News 1st) – What is happening with the Central Bank Treasury Bond Scam?

It’s been quite some time since the Presidential Commission of Inquiry into the bond issue concluded recording of evidence and released its report. The question the people have in their minds now is solely based on the validity of the Commission and its proceedings.

If the Commission of Inquiry was a toothless tiger where it cannot take action, was it just a waste of time and public money. If the Government is not willing to take the required action to bring about laws that would enable strong proceedings against those found guilty, what is the point?

Is this going to be one of the biggest failures in Public Trust in post-Independence Sri Lanka?

At present the public are struggling to survive with the rising cost of living, lack of access to clean drinking water, education and even a collapsing health system – but they are being asked to tighten their belts and are taxed even more. The Bond Scam is known as the largest financial fraud in Sri Lanka and possibly even in the region, but it is being left unresolved by those people who have trusted and voted for.

The 1st Bond Scam was exposed, but the 2nd Bond issue in 2016 is yet to be investigated.

There are questions surrounding the commission report itself, with many questioning the right Austin Fernando the Former Secretary to the President had to send the report to the National Archives. There are also questions over the manner in which the Prime Minister, Ministers Kabir Hashim and Malik Samarawickrama were questioned at the commission.

The people question why outspoken individuals like Dappula De Livera and Yasantha Kodagoda from the Attorney General’s Department were sidelined during the questioning. The people question why the Prime Minister, Kabir Hashim and Malik Samarawickrama were given special treatment.

There is serious public doubt over these matters. On the 08th of January 2015, the people voted against Corruption. Once the Bond Scam was exposed, the people sent a clear message during the Local Government Polls – this too was against Corruption.

Everybody protecting this scandal both in the present government and the opposition should know that the people are watching and waiting. One of the key aspects of this issue is that the Bribery Commission IS INCAPABLE of taking legal action against those responsible based on reports of the Presidential Commissions.

Director General of Commission to investigate allegations of bribery and corruption, President’s Counsel Sarath Jayamanne states that the Bribery Commission does not have the power to file cases based on the evidence recorded at the Presidential Commissions and that in order to take legal actions, the Bribery Commission will have to play the second innings and summon the people who had already provided evidence at the Presidential Commission and record evidence from them, once again.

“What kind of a time-wasting act is that. To avoid this, an amendment will be formulated and tabled in Parliament. Accordingly, if this amendment gets approved, we will be able to take legal action based on the evidence recorded at the Presidential Commissions, instead of recording it all once again at the Bribery Commission” continued Jayamanne.

However, in case a clarification of certain facts are required, evidence will still have to be recorded again. But, also if this amendment gets the approval, the whole process will become more efficient