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Thursday April 18th, 2024

Probe finds misappropriation of funds in the Central Cultural Fund – Prime Minister’s office

ALLEGATIONS – Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa receives report from committee that probed the Central Cultural Fund

ECONOMYNEXT – A three-member committee that probed alleged misappropriation from the Central Cultural Fund has found that the fund had lost Rs11bn during the period from 2016 to 2019, the Prime Minister’s office said.

In a statement issued last night July 28, the PM’s office said that a 142-page report by the committee headed by retired High Court Judge Gamini Sarath Edirisinghe had found inconsistencies and financial misappropriation in the activities of the fund.

Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa ordered the investigation shortly after he came to power as Minister of Buddha Sasana.

The leader of the Samagi Jana Balavegaya Sajith Premadasa was the minister responsible for the Central Cultural Fund during this period. At the time Premadasa was Minister of Housing, Construction and Cultural Affairs.

An inquiry into these same allegations was first ordered by Ranil Wickremesinghe when he was Prime Minister at the time that Premadasa challenged him for the Presidential nomination in 2019.

Wickremesinghe appointed a committee to inquire into allegations that Rs.1.2 billion had disappeared from the Fund.

This matter was raised by Power and Energy Minister Ravi Karunanayake. No result of that probe was ever revealed.

Premadasa has consistently denied these charges.

The SJB is posing the strongest challenge to the governing Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna in next week’s Parliamentary General Elections. (Colombo, July 29, 2020)

Reported by Arjuna Ranawana

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Sri Lanka’s discussions with bondholders constructive: State finance minister

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lankan authorities continue to engage all debt restructuring negotiations in good faith, within principles of equitable treatment among creditors, and with maximum transparency within the norms of such negotiations, State Minister of Finance, Shehan Semasinghe has said.

“It is standard practice, when a representative group of bondholders is formed, to entertain confidential discussions with such group and its appointed advisors. In the case of Sri Lanka, the Ad Hoc Group of Bondholders represents holders controlling more than 50% of the bonds, which make them a privileged interlocutor for Sri Lanka,” Semasinghe said on X (twitter).

“It is well understood that given the price sensitive nature of the negotiations, and according to market regulations, discussions with the Group and its advisors are to be conducted under non-disclosure agreements. This evidently restricts the ability of the Government to unilaterally report about the substance of the discussions.

“The cleansing statement, which was issued on the 16th of April, at the conclusion of this first round of confidential discussions with members of the Group, aims at informing the Sri Lankan people, market participants and other stakeholders to this debt restructuring exercise, about the progress in negotiations. It provides the highest possible level of transparency within the internationally accepted practices in such circumstances.

“As informed in this statement, confidential discussions held in recent weeks with bondholders’ representatives proved constructive, building on the restructuring proposals presented by both parties. During the talks both sides successfully bridged a number of technical issues enabling important progress to be made. Sri Lanka articulated key remaining concerns that need to be addressed in a satisfactory manner.

“The next steps would entail further consultation with the IMF staff regarding assessments of the compatibility of the latest proposals with program parameters. Following these consultations, we hope to continue discussions with the bondholders with a view to reaching common ground ahead of the IMF board consideration of the second review of Sri Lanka’s EFF program.”

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Sri Lanka rupee weakens at 301.00/302.05 to the US dollar

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s rupee closed at 301.00/302.05 to the US dollar in the spot forex market on Tuesday, from 299.00/10 on Tuesday, dealers said. Bond yields were broadly steady.

A bond maturing on 15.12.2026 closed stable at 11.30/35 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.09.2027 closed at 11.90/12.05 percent up from 11.95/12.00 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.12.2028 closed at 12.10/20 percent down from 12.10/15 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.07.2029 closed at 12.25/40 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.03.2031 closed at 12.30/50 percent. (Colombo/Apr17/2024)

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Sri Lanka Treasury Bill yields down across maturities

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s Treasuries yields were down across maturities at Wednesday’s auction with the 3-month yield moving down 7 basis points to 10.03 percent, data from the state debt office showed.

The debt office sold all 30 billion rupees of 3-month bills offered.

The 6-month yield fell 5 basis points to 10.22 percent, with 25 billion rupees of bills offered and 29.98 billion rupees sold.

The 12-month yield dropped 4 basis points to 10.23 percent with 18.01 billion rupees of bills sold after offering 23 billion rupees. (Colombo/Apr17/2024)

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