Opposition MP and UNP Economic Spokesman Dr. Harsha De Silva issuing a statement yesterday said a gang of white collar criminals were operating in the Colombo Stock Exchange and new directives issued by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) only made them stronger.
"The true colours of the controversial chairman of the SEC Dr Nalaka Godahewa has once again come to light with his statement to counter the widely publicized letter to the SEC by good governance activist K. C. Vignarajah highlighting the on-going reversal of regulations that had been formulated, according to him, ‘to minimize, as far as possible insider dealing, market manipulation, front running, pump and dump practices’," Dr. De Silva said.
"It is well known that a certain politically influential group is behind the manipulation of the CSE to swindle unsuspecting investors and the large public funds also controlled by the same group and they are being protected by the restructured regulatory mechanism," he charged.
"However, the recent coming together of eminent persons in the caliber of Chari de Silva and Mahendra Amarasuriya to fight corruption and build good governance at the CSE with Vignarajah and others goes to show that we still have a good chance of creating a financial market that investors could interact with confidence, in spite of the temporary phenomenon where a gang of white collar criminals believe that the CSE can be controlled for their own personal gain. I wish them continued strength to fight for truth and justice," the opposition lawmaker said.
Vignarajah, in an email to top SEC officials, reproduced in the media including The Island Financial Review last Monday, while expressing disappointment with the new SEC directives clearly laid down his stance, asking only for transparency and disclosure.
The SEC responded on Tuesday to say safeguards were in place but took no pains to address the concerns raised by Vignarajah, except to say regulation had reverted back to the earlier status quo, which led to many irregularities in the market in the first place.