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Sri Lanka PM says ready for bondscam debate; CB took action in 2017

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe said he was ready for a parliamentary debate on a Presidential commission report on a securities scam which recommended the prosecution of ex-Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake for bribery allegations.

"I am ready ask the Speaker to convene parliament," Wickremasinghe told a party rally Sunday. "We have acted transparently. This is the third debate. But there is no problem. We have nothing to hide.

"We have act transparently."

Wickremasinghe said in 2017, when Central Bank Governor (Indrajit Coomaraswamy) wanted to investigate Perpetual Treasuries he called the attorney general’s department and arranged for two officers to be provided.

"Steps were taken to preserve 11 billion rupees," Wickremesinghe said. "The Central Bank Governor said the money could be recovered after filing a case in court."

In 2017 the central bank blocked the distribution of profits by Perpetual Treasuries, and suspended its trading activities.

Wickremesinghe said he discussed with President Maithripala Sirisena and agreed with the appointment of the commission of inquiry.

"I and there other ministers also gave evidence before it," Wickremesinghe said.

"This is something that had not happened in Sri Lanka."

Wickremesinghe said the Presidential commission had also recommended a probe into bond sales between 2008 and 2014.





He claimed over 4000 billion rupees of bonds were sold without approval of the governing Monetary Board of the central bank. He said fresh loans had to be taken to repay the old loans. Over 25 years it would balloon to 10 trillion rupees.

The current administration had to pay loans, he said.

The sale bonds outside auctions, had attracted criticism for being non-market driven and amid concerns that state managed funds including the Employees Provident Fund was forced to buy bonds at low yields. (Colombo/Jan08/2018 – Update II)

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