H.E Mahinda Rajapaksa
The President of the Republic of Sri Lanka,
Expected resignation of Chairman SEC, under pressure
Please permit me the honour to draw your kind and urgent attention, once again, to a matter of grave importance to the good name of our country and its capital market.
My letter to you dated 20th ultimo, handed over immediately after, the market stakeholders’ meeting with you, concluded thus:
“Your Excellency’s ambition to fly the flag of our country high is being undermined by many extremely selfish persons. You have great potential to do good by defending the actions of the regulators to do their duty of protecting the investors, create a level playing field and ensure fair play.”
At that meeting I heard (not saw) some desperate wrongdoer interjecting that I was “anti-Government and anti- Lanka”. I was amused at this desperado’s attempt to divert your keen attention away from my speech. His absolute falsity was countered thus: By training and culture, I have always been non-political, and truthful in all my public interest, good governance and investors’ interest activities.
To contribute, for the betterment of humanity, the country and the average decent citizens, have always been foremost in my upbringing. I have always been extremely proud of my parents, the extended family, teachers at college and lifelong friends; none of them touched anyone else’s money or property!
In the above context only, I drew attention to my role as Chairman, Pramuka Bank Restructuring Committee meeting with Your Excellency on few occasions, to obtain relief, which bore fruits for the poor depositors. I was neither a depositor nor a shareholder, but acted in the public interest. I did not charge any fees nor claim any expenses. I worked tirelessly with the poor depositors, paying respects to all religious, political and social dignitaries in the process. UPFA, UNP, TNA, JHU, JVP figures were all there. I have never sought any personal favours.
“It was also the Depositors’ action to take the matter before the Appeal Court which ruled in their favour to reopen Pramuka Bank. The Supreme Court, dismissing the appeal by CBSL, directed them to consult, K.C. Vignarajah the depositors’ representative in the restructuring process of the bank”. (Sunday Observer 11 July 2004)
I understand that Thilak Karunaratne also sought no fees or expenses, did an honorary job at SEC. Remarkable person, truly patriotic. My admiration for those who do their duty by the people is tremendous. If he is moved out, or resigns, it will be a great tragedy for our country and the investing public.
In 1978, the M.D. Gunasena controlled ‘Sun’ newspaper carried the following front page banner headline: Quote- An angry young man states: “The quota we won in Washington was lost in Sri Lanka!”
On returning from a successful trip as advisor to the first quota negotiating team to USA led by Minister Lalith Athulathmudali, I stoutly opposed the JRJ diktat on distribution of 50% of the hard won quota, to multinationals in the FTZ who were not entitled to any! We finally won for the small and medium indigenous industry, and retrieved nearly all the key quotas from the multinationals in the FTZ.
Thilak Karunaratne’s remarks that he would not allow “Robber barons” to exploit our innocent investors, reverberates the very same spirit as mine, about 34 years ago in defending the country’s industrial interests!
President Premadasa had the concept of 3Cs ‘Consultation, Compromise and Consensus’. There was at that time, some “crony capitalists” feeding off a lopsided “free market”. I was always for a competitive free market economy with basic safeguards.
As a counter to the revolutions that have been caused by exploitative hierarchies, I was espousing the creation of more manufacture and exports of added value products and services; also stressing the necessity of 4Cs “Creative, Competitive Caring Capitalism” which shares the fruits of the enterprise society in an equitable and fair manner to enlarge a shareholding democracy.
President Premadasa responded beautifully, (even though a very close caring friend cautioned me) after watching a detailed 12 minute presentation of all the faults, and (with other chamber heads giving me their time) seeking a level playing field, revamped policies, removing unethical practices, competition and corruption.
Your Excellency, it will be a severe blow to our country’s image, if persons of very high calibre resign from the chair of SEC. (Mr. Thilak Karunaratne now, and only eight months after Mrs. Indrani Sugathadasa.) There has been an unmistakable chorus of good advice, from the COPE to all good editors, journalist, and all eminent persons of goodwill.
Thanking you for your urgent attention, to retain the honest chairman of SEC, and the acting Director General Prof. Dr Dissa Bandara, while rejecting the advice of High Net Work Crooks (HNWC) and wrongdoers.
K.C. Vignarajah (acting in the interest of IMS and the investing public)