Eran to call for Sri Lanka parliament’s probe on bond deal to be made public
COLOMBO (EconomyNext) – Deputy Investment Promotions Minister Eran Wickremeratne said he will call for the proceedings of a parliamentary committee on a controversial bond deal to be made public.
Wickremeratne said the Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE), of which he was himself a member had called questioned persons involved, including primary dealers, officers of the Central Bank, the Treasury and even retired persons.
"We started collecting information," Wickremeratne told reporters in Colombo.
"It was in the midst of all this that the parliament was dissolved. The interim committee could not come to a final decision."
"I plan to call for the proceedings to be made public, in the interest of transparency. We have nothing to hide. If the report is published, all of you can come to a decision."
He was responding questions from reporters who asked how the public can be assured of wrongdoers of the last regime being punished, when there was no assurance that wrong doers of the current regime being punished either, as was seen in an alleged fraud involving the Central Bank.
In the alleged fraud, a primary dealer connected to Central Bank Governor Arjuna Mahendran’s family bid over 250 basis points above market rates at an auction for 30-year bonds and was given five times the initial action volume.
There were also allegations of insider dealing in the secondary market, ahead of the bond sale, as well as questions over monetary tightening outside the monthly rate announcement.
The actions shell-shocked gilt markets, bring trading to a standstill for almost two days, while market participants were unable price any bond across the yield curve.
Prime Minister Rani Wickremesinghe has vigorously defended the deal, much to the disappointment of good governance activists, who spoke out against corruption during the last regime, and helped bring the new administration to power expecting a change.
Reporters also raised questions about allegations that Prime Minister Wickremesinghe had also interfered in the event, asking what the party nominations committee would do amid such allegations.
"There is no allegation against the Prime Minister, I can say that categorically," Wickremeratne said.
"The COPE chairman DEW Gunesekera himself said the Prime Minister can make his views known especially on policy.
"This is just a mud throwing attempt by the opposition."