Written by Ramesh Irugalbandara
18 Mar, 2019 | 4:14 pm
Colombo (News1st) – President Maithripala Sirisena has criticized the Government of Singapore over their reluctance to assist Sri Lanka in its search for fugitive former Central Bank Governor Arjuna Mahendran, who is a Singaporean citizen.
Addressing an event organized by the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption, President Maithripala Sirisena expressed his thoughts on the bond scam and the action taken against it. The President revealed that the Presidential Commission appointed to probe the bond scam as well as the investigators that led the investigations had to face many obstacles when discharging their duties.
The Head of state revealed that many of the investigators had approached him seeking assistance in traveling overseas as their very lives had been threatened due to the investigations into the bond scam. President Sirisena noted with disgust that the state administration even stooped low enough to launch investigations against the investigators themselves in a bid to stifle their work.
President Sirisena explained that after a red notice was issued by Interpol, Arjuna Mahendran had filed an appeal against the notice. In his appeal, Mahendran had stated that the red notice was issued based on politically motivated reasons. The President explained that Interpol then took steps to appoint a judge to hear this appeal and the judge had eventually dismissed the appeal, leading to the red notice being issued again.
He noted that the reality of the situation is that they have not been able to apprehend the main individual responsible for the bond scam. President Sirisena explained that he recently traveled to Singapore and had a personal discussion with the Prime Minister of Singapore on the matter. However, the president noted with disappointment that the Government of Singapore is yet to announce their official stance on the matter.
President Maithripala Sirisena noted that the Government of Singapore seems to be hesitant to act on the matter, he added that if they wanted to help they could have simply issued a statement on whether or not Mahendran was in the country.
While claiming that fraud, corruption and wastage were the largest obstacles to the development of the country, the President also took aim at the legislature, as he spoke about amendments that were brought in for the bribery act.
The head of state claimed that amendments to the bribery commission act, which would simplify taking action in large scale cases such as the bond scam, which were tabled in Parliament remained in a dusty cupboard for the longest time before he had to personally intervene. He noted that with great difficulty the amendment was entered into the order paper and taken up for debate only to be postponed indefinitely after just two speakers had spoken on the matter.
President Sirisena explained that this was one of the reasons that forced him to make a decision on changing the Government in October 2018.
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