Singaporean government questioned by its media over extraditing Arjuna Mahendran

Singaporean government questioned by its media over extraditing Arjuna Mahendran

Written by Nathasha De Alwis

20 Mar, 2019 | 7:00 pm

Colombo (News 1st): After President Maithripala Sirisena stated that Singapore needs to be clear on its stance regarding extraditing Arjuna Mahendran, it was reported today (March 20) that Singaporean media has also questioned its government.

President Sirisena’s Request

On March 6th, 2019 President Maithripala Sirisena said that he had requested the assistance of the Prime Minister of Singapore to arrest Mahendran who is a Singaporean national. This was after INTERPOL issued a 2nd Red Notice on Arjuna Mahendran following an appeal.

However later on March 10th, 2019 the Sunday Times reported that the Singapore government has not made an official response regarding the arrest and extradition of the former Central Bank Governor Arjuna Mahendran to Sri Lanka in order to face charges on the bond scam.

Singaporean media questions it’s government

Singaporean media today, however, questioned its government regarding extraditing Arjuna Mahendran. A Singaporean media report read that it appears that Singapore is currently unwilling to handover their citizen to face these charges in a foreign court.

According to the AFP, Singapore has rejected the claims by saying Colombo failed to provide documents to support its extradition request.

The AFP quotes a Singaporean government official as saying Sri Lanka’s request to return Mahendran “lacked certain information required under Singapore’s extradition laws” and the city-state has requested Colombo to provide them.

Is Singapore protecting Mahendran?

The people of Sri Lanka will undoubtedly be appreciative of the interest displayed by the people of Singapore and some media who appear to have understood the anxiety that has engulfed Sri Lanka in terms of the largest financial scams ever perpetrated on its public.

The visionary and hallowed principals of the founding father of Singapore, the legendary statesman Lee Quan Yu, appear to have been left by the wayside as demonstrated by the unusual Singaporean government’s intransigence when it comes to assisting a regional neighbour in its hour of need.

Singapore and Sri Lanka share common ground in their membership of the Commonwealth. Commonwealth treaties contain provisions for the extradition of persons wanted by any Commonwealth nation especially for matters of a purely fiscal nature.

The London Scheme reads an extradition offence is an offence which is punishable in the requesting and requested country by imprisonment for two years or a greater penalty.

Simultaneous to the apparent unsympathetic Singaporean response to President Maithripala’s plea for accountability, in Sri Lanka, the forensic audit envisaged by the presidential commission into the bond scam continues to suffer delays.

The Daily Mirror reports that the cabinet has called for a report within three months on the steps taken to select international experts for a forensic audit on the Central Bank Bond Scam.

Where are the forensic audits?

In the meantime, 15 months after the publication of the bond report, the forensic audit appears not to have started as yet. News 1st can reveal that out of 6 forensic audits advertised, award letters for 4 audits have already been sent out. The award letter for the 5th forensic audit is expected to be sent out soon.

However, the award for the 6th forensic audit has been delayed. Highly placed sources requesting anonymity revealed that the process to award the 6th audit needs to be redone.

Convener of Voice Against Corruption Wasantha Samarasinghe questioned, the availability of the four forensic audits that Central Bank Governor Dr Indrajith Coomarasawamy claims they did in 2018? He noted that if the forensic audit is not done during his tenure, this will be an evasion of his responsibilities as the governor of the central bank.

Samarasinghe added that they are aware that Ranil Wickremesinghe, Mangala Samaraweera, and the present government has no interest to conduct forensic audits and learn the truth of the central bank bond scam.

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