No intention of leaving Sri Lanka: ex-CB Governor Nivard Cabraal

COLOMBO (EconomyNext) – Sri Lanka’s former Central Bank Governor said he had no intention of leaving the country amid reports that authorities have asked for his passport to be impounded and expressed confidence that he would be fully vindicated in time.

Cabraal said in a statement that he was "deeply disappointed" over wide publicity given to a complaint made against him to the island’s bribery commission.

"Nevertheless, I believe the true position will emerge once a proper understanding of the matters at issue are known to the public, and therefore I am confident that the current attempt to vilify and discredit me would be unsuccessful, and I would be fully vindicated in time to come," he said.

After resigning from his post, Cabraal said he had moved to a private residence and had "no intention of leaving the country."

Cabraal said during his 8.5-year tenure at the Central Bank he had contributed to major improvements in the economy.

During Cabraal’s tenure Sri Lanka’s inflation was kept low compared to the past as denoted by a stable exchange rate of around 110 rupees until 2011, ending a vicious cycle of chronic currency depreciation and inflation that persisted for several decades, partly due to the pursuit of a neo-Mercantilist strategy of promoting hard goods exports at the expense of the entire population.

But in 2012 the currency fell sharply amid a bout of money printed to finance fuel subsidies and it was not allowed to move back up when credit growth fell, imposing economic hardships on the people.

The full statement is reproduced below:

Press Statement Issued by Ajith Nivard Cabraal,
On 23rd January 2015

I refer to the recent complaints made to the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption pertaining to my conduct. I also refer to the media reports that my passport has be “seized” by the CIABOC, in order to ensure I remain in Sri Lanka.

In this connection, I wish to state that I have served the Central Bank and the country conscientiously, professionally and diligently, thereby contributing significantly to the major improvements in the Sri Lankan economy in the past 8 ½  years of my tenure as the Governor.

In that background, I am deeply disappointed at the wide publicity that has been generated for the “charges” contained in the complaints, as well as the other scurrilous stories that have been deviously placed in various websites and social media. Nevertheless, I believe the true position will emerge once a proper understanding of the matters at issue are known to the public, and therefore I am confident that the current attempt to vilify and discredit me would be unsuccessful, and I would be fully vindicated in time to come.

I also wish to state that since resigning from the position of Governor on 9th January 2015, I have vacated the Governor’s official residence by 15th January 2015 and have since moved to a private residence in Colombo, having no intention of leaving the country.

At the same time, I wish to sincerely thank the many friends, well-wishers and fellow citizens who have expressed their gratitude for the work done by me during the period I served as the Governor.