* Asserts NSB should either pay for the shares or quit
By Ravi Ladduwahetty
The sordid National Savings Bank and the Finance Co. share deal is likely to be finalised today says the Securities and Exchange Commission.
"The transaction is at the stage where the National savings Bank are the owners of the shares for which they have not paid yet, but Sampath bank has paid for the shares and Taprobane Securities have acted as the buying and selling broker and that is the situation that the deal is at now. My officials have been working round the clock to see that consensus and an amicable solution is reached in this deal, SEC Chairman Tilak Karunaratne told The Island Financial Review last night.
"We will try our utmost to get the National Savings Bank to pay up the funds and complete the transaction and we are at the moment, tying the loose ends. They should either pay for the shares or quit them," the SEC Chief said.
However, even if the deal is finalised today, the probes will continue and the most deterrent punishment will be meted out to the offenders, he said.
Reacting to the comments made by UNP Chief Economist and National List MP Dr. Harsha De Silva, made to this newspaper in its Tuesday’s edition, that the only solution to mitigate the sordid nature of the transaction was to effect a mirror transaction, the SEC Chairman said that the UNP National List MP may be a top rung economist but he was no expert in regulatory affairs.
What Dr. De Silva meant was that the transaction should be permitted to go through and reverse it where the seller buys and the buyer sells the same number of shares at the same price, which he said, would have the least damage to the credibility of the Colombo Stock Exchange, the investor sentiments and the market itself.
National Savings Bank has brought over 7,863,362 shares at Rs. 49.74 of The Finance Company gaining a stake of 13.2 percent for Rs. 391 million.
It was after President Mahinda Rajapaksa intervened in the controversial deal that NSB and its board of directors decided not to pay up the funds which have put the credibility of Colombo Stock Exchange at stake.