UNP General Secretary Tissa Attanayake told a news conference today that a report by the parliamentary Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE) has revealed that the country has lost 3.4 billion rupees (US$ 25 million) due to the Central Bank's investment in Greek bonds.
He said that the Central Bank has admitted to investing and losing monies by investing in Greek bonds saying it was aimed at increasing the country's revenue.
He added that the Central Bank's flippant statement that the monies lost through the Greek bonds would be recovered through other investments meant the authorities were spending public funds according to their whims.
"The Central Bank says the loss is a simple matter, but it is the public monies that have been lost," Attanayake said.
The Central Bank in a statement last week said the investments in Greek Bonds were a small fraction of the Central Bank total Europe portfolio and the loss of the Greek bonds was comfortably offset by higher returns from other investments.
The Bank said the overall investments of country's reserve money in a diversified portfolio have gained above average returns earning US$430 million in 2011 at a 6.56% rate.
Attanayake, however, noted that the Auditor General had clearly advised against the investment in Greek bonds as it was 'risky,' but the Central Bank had ignored the advice.
According to Attanayake, it is surprising to see the Central Bank invest in Greek bonds when the country's economy has been in crisis from the past few years.
"The Central Bank has invested in risky Greek bonds to increase its revenue while asking the people not to invest monies in unlicensed financial institutions in the country. This whole episode is like a Sakvithi scam," he said.
The Central Bank has explained that a wide portfolio, which includes all types of financial instruments such as fixed income, money market and treasuries, will incur fluctuations in real-time.
Despite significant challenges the investments have managed to deliver above average returns and value growth of its reserves in the past, said the Bank adding that it is confident that the bank can do so in the future as well, in keeping with its policy guidelines.