ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s Prime Minister’s office expressed hope that the Attorney General will act on a report by President Commission of Inquiry, though no action has been taken on a parliamentary report which was handed over more than a year ago.
The Prime Minister’s office said a report by the parliament’s Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE) was referred to the AG as far back as October 31, 2016.
"The report on the Presidential Commission on bond issues has been referred by the President to the Attorney General," the statement said.
"The report of the COPE Chaired by Sunil Handunetti was referred with instructions from the Prime Minister on October 31 to the Attorney General."
Up to the first week of January 2018, there had been no news of any action taken by the Attorney General.
President Sirisena in statement Wednesday said there will be monthly evaluations of progress made on the recommendations of the commission.
The statement said the Prime Minister had also asked in December 2016 to find the officers responsible for the controversial bond auctions and recommend legal action.
The statement did not give any reasons for inaction, or delay.
"Now we hope the Attorney General’s Department will take the necessary steps," the statement said.
The statement said the current administration’s credentials on democracy on rule of law was reinforced by these actions.
The commission of inquiry was unusual in Sri Lanka’s political history where powerful individual’s usually got away with corruption and other criminal activities.
The scam involved a series of rigged bond auctions during the tenure of Central Bank Governor Arjuna Mahendran, which benefited Perpetual Treasuries, a firm connected to his son-in-law.
The bonds were then dumped on the Employees Provident Fund which was managed by the central bank as well as other state funds at higher prices.
In this case ex-Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake, who had been denying that a scam occurred in bonds was forced to resign after it Perpetual Treasuries, had provided him with an apartment.
There had been allegations during the last regime that Perpetual Capital, another firm in the group had dumped stocks on the EPF, but no action was taken during the last regime, or even after the new regime came to power.
Perpetual Treasuries had also been selling bonds to the EPF in 2014, it emerged during the commission hearings.
Bond sales conducted prior to 2015, most of which was made outside auctions were also controversial.
The commission had asked for a forensic audit and of bonds sales going back to 2008. (Colombo/Jan04/2018)