Sri Lanka Foreign minister to resign after parliament speech

ECONOMYNEXT – Foreign Minister Ravi Karunanayake is set to make a statement in parliament later Thursday and is likely to step down pending investigations into a controversial bond auction, official sources said.

Karunanayake stayed away from Wednesday’s cabinet meeting, but held a private meeting with President Maithripala Sirisena, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne.

The Foreign minister had denied he was under pressure to resign following his testimony before the commission investigating the controversial bond sale.

However, his resignation would put pressure on President Sirisena to act against at least six ministers who face corruption charges before courts.

The commission, which is investigating bond sales between February 2015 and March 2016, questioned Karunanayake about his apartment at Monarch after the owner testified she leased it to him through a third party.

Anika Wijesuriya said the fifth floor apartment was leased to a company of Arjun Aloysius of Perpetual Treasuries which is at the centre of an alleged securities fraud.

Anika Wijesuriya did not object to Aloysius fronting the lease for the Karunanayakes who had reimbursed the full rental amount to the Perpetual company which entered into the lease agreement.

The Commission, comprising Supreme Court Justices K.T. Chitrasiri and Prasanna Sujeewa Jayawardana and retired Deputy Auditor General Kandasamy Veluppillai, is only a fact finding exercise.

Its findings are not enforceable, but evidence before it could be used in a separate criminal prosecution.

Members of the Joint Opposition have given notice of a no-confidence move against Karunanayake. (COLOMBO, August 10, 2017)





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