Sri Lanka President should call for bondscam probe report: COPE chief

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s President Maithripala Sirisena should call for a parliamentary report on a Treasury bond scam for necessary action in the name of good governance, chairman of the inquiry committee DEW Gunasekera said.

"The President can call for the report from the Secretary General of Parliament, read it and take action if seen fit," Gunasekera told reporters in Colombo.

"This is very important as it deals with national finances. It is important for good governance."

He said the 447-page report was complete and had testimony of over 40 people but it could not be presented because the parliament was dissolved and there were objections from four members out of eight present on the dissolution day. The committee has 13 members.

He said if the parliament was dissolved the following week it could have been tabled.

Gunasekera smilingly declined to reveal the name of the party the objectors belonged to.

Sri Lanka’s United National Party is now coming under fire for covering up the alleged bond scam where 5 billion rupees worth 30 year bonds were given at rates as high as 12.5 percent to a company connected to the son-in-law of Central Bank Governor Arjuna Mahendran after calling bids for only a billion rupees.

Leaked copies of draft reports said that the Governor Mahendran had pressured officers to accept 10 billion rupees of bids at high rates despite their objections after first asking them to accept up to 20 billion rupees of bids.

The action pushed up the yields of 30-year bond by around 250 basis points and left bond markets at a standstill for nearly two days shell-shocked market participants were unable to price any bond on any maturity.

Gunasekera said he did not leak the report but some other members may have done. He said he was disappointed that the report could not be tabled in parliament.

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He said there were alternative methods of raising the money that would have reduced the cost to the people.

 

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