COLOMBO (EconomyNext) – Sri Lanka’s military and the diplomatic service had been under foreign nationals during the ousted Rajapaksa regime, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said defending the appointment of a Singapore national to head the country’s central bank.
Wickremesinghe said former Defence Secretary Gothabhaya Rajapaksa was a US citizen who had renounced any allegiance to Sri Lanka.
He said the US oath of allegiance required those seeking citizenship to also bear arms and defend the country against other people.
He was responding to questions by opposition legislator Dinesh Gunewardene whether Central Bank Governor Arjuna Mahendran who is at the centre of scandal over awarding government bonds to his son-in-law company at high interest rates was a citizen of Singapore and his loyalty to Sri Lanka.
The parliament’s Committee on Public Accounts is now probing the deal.
Gunewardene asked whether Mahendran had renounced loyalty to Sri Lanka and whether he had taken a fresh oath before taking up the post of governor.
He also asked whether there are "ample grounds for invoking Section 16 ( c ) of the central bank’s law which says that the governor can be removed if he has done anything which in the opinion of the President is manifestly opposed to the objects and interests of the Central Bank.
Wickremesinghe said during the Rajapaksa administration the foreign secretary was Palitha Kohona, an Australian citizens who had pledged allegiance to the Queen of England.
Wickremesinghe said Mahendran was a born, went to school and worked in Sri Lanka before going to Singapore.
He said Mahendra fled to the country to escape with his life the Rajapaksa regime, along with a number of others including journalists.
He said several legislators were also killed during the last regime.
Wickremesinghe charged opposition legislators of hounding an intellectual of the minority community.
Gunewardene said Wickremesinghe had not answered his questions and instead, went on a trip, but if there was an election people will give an answer.
Chief Government whip Lakshman Kiriella said the question had been asked and answered many times and they were ready for an election and challenged the opposition to put forward a motion to that effect.
Kiriella had asked all those who wanted parliament to be dissolved to stand up.