Just as Dinesh Weerakkody steps down tomorrow as chairman of Commercial Bank, a well-managed institution, conflicts of interest of his natural successor, Dharma Dheerasinghe are surfacing once again, three years later.
Dr. Dheerasinghe retired from the Central Bank (CB) in late 2011 as Deputy Governor and soon after was appointed to the Commercial Bank as a director, representing a state stake in the private bank. In December 2011 when Mr. Weerakkody took over as chairman, Dr. Dheerasinghe was appointed Deputy Chairman.
At the time, business analysts raised the conflict of interest in the appointment saying Dr. Dheerasinghe’s wife was the EPF Superintendent at the CB, later to be promoted to Assistant Governor with supervisory control over EPF matters.
These issues have emerged once again since the EPF and related parties have a near 20 per cent stake in the bank with two other directors representing these interests –Prithi Jayawardene and Lakshman Hulugalle who have ‘fit and proper’ issues to serve on the board. Mr. Hulugalle, now Sri Lanka’s Deputy High Commissioner in Australia, was found guilty by a court in a timber racket while recently he allegedly tried to commit suicide on two occasions.
Mr. Jayawardene was embroiled in an issue at the then Institute of Chartered Accountants of Sri Lanka when senior accountant Asita Talwatte was found guilty by a institute-appointed committee on issues relating to professional misconduct. “The saving grace in all these issues is that despite the political influence over the board, the bank has been professionally managed so far,” said K.C.Vignarajah, a bank shareholder who had earlier urged the creation of three executive directors (bank employees) from a current two to resist other pressures.
Commercial Bank has invested whole excess in Government Treasuries
This is a post from 5 years ago
Another Bond Deal in the Offing - COMB Chairman Dharma Dheerasinghe, CALF, TFIL and TAP Update
It is learnt that Sri Lanka's famous Bond King Ajith Devasurendra after helping Present Commercial Bank Chairman Dharma Dheerasinghe's son to be graduated from United States has given Dheerasinghe's son a job at Capital Alliance Group owned by Ajith Fernando whose two Finance Companies Capital Alliance Finance PLC (CALF) and Trade Finance and Investments PLC (TFIL) and associates and subsidiaries that has a large Treasury Bill and Treasury Bond investment portfolio to the tune of nearly Rs.10 billion that was made when interest rates of Bond market were fairly high.
Market sources from Gothami Road, Commercial Bank and Capital Alliance group adds that Devasurendra's has recently done a deal to sell those Bonds in Ajith Fernando's group and Taprobane Holdings group to Commercial Bank where as Commercial Bank's present balance sheet will face a threat amidst falling interest rates of Treasury Bill & Bond Market under present Monetary Policy of Central Bank of Sri Lanka.
The situation is described by Bond Market and Capital Market experts as the second move which Ajith Devasurendra will be adjudged as country's 'Bond King'...as since the first incident was from 2000-2003 era when Devasurendra offered a small office to a treasury executive- a top officer at state owned People's Bank at the time when Mano Tittawella was the Chairman of People's bank. That time according to reliable news reports and insiders Dharma Dheerasinghe who was then a Central Bank Deputy Governor looking specially at Bond Market was said to be giving the best information of interest rates beforehand to Ajith Devasurendra when he was Chief Executive of First Capital Treasuries which was then a Commercial Bank & Singer group subsidiary.
That time with Dheerasinghe's 'Inside Information' Devasurendra has sold Bonds and made sizable great profits to First Capital Treausures whilst later People's Bank made losses and after even Ajith Devasurendra left in 2004 Singer and Commercial Bank sold their stakes of First capital to Janashakthi group owned Q-Capital since after a thorough investigation carried out on Devasurendra's conduct of work he was found guilty in 2000-2003 tenure for manipulating Bond market.After Devasurendra left First Capital that time Maninda Wickramasinghe (Present Managing Director of Fitch Ratings) became the CEO and Managing Director of First Capital Treasuries.
It is now said that Devasurendra and Dheerasinghe has again done a deal to buy the Bonds through Commercial Bank whilst Commercial Bank Deputy Chairman Preethi Jayawardena who has over 40% stake in Ram Ratings Lanka will give a good rating even after all these deals to Commercial Bank.
Meanwhile Former Chief Financial Officer of Bank of Ceylon - Saliya Rajakaruna A Member of the Study Group of Sri Lanka's Controversial Oil Hedging Deal that brought billions of losses to Commercial Bank and People's bank has recently done another deal with Dharma Dheerasinghe by selling Indra Finance to Commercial Bank where Saliya Rajakaruna is the Chief Executive.Rajakaruna earlier served as the Chief Executive Officer of Nations Trust Bank PLC prior to joining Indra Finance.
Sources outline that Commercial Bank has been buying some bonds also when since from 2012 Dheerasinghe was appointed Chairman to Bartleet Finance PLC - a unit owned by Sri Lanka's First Ceylonese Sinhala Buddhist Governor General's (third Governor General's) son-in-law First Chairman of Colombo Stock Exchange and Ceylon Chamber of Commerce - Mallory Wijesinghe owned now his sons headed Bartleet group.
On the contrary recently T.Senthilverl an top line stock market investor who sold his stake of The Finance PLC shares from his 29% stake in September 2011 to alleged manipulators of Controversial The Finance PLC (TFC) - National Savings Bank Deal in April 2012...Senthilverl recently sold 26,895,935 million or 9.11% stake voting shares of Pan Asia Bank (PABC) to Devasurendra and sources outline that now Devasurendra has a nose in PABC and certain Bonds that were bought at higher interest rates will be also dumped to PABC whilst Devasurendra is keeping his option to appoint Dharma Dheerasinghe to PABC Board in case if Dharma's Commercial Bank seat is lost after June next Year midst all these controversies.
Some Printed Sources - http://books.google.lk/books?id=EoO5CXSdISkC&pg=PA144&lpg=PA144&dq=saliya+rajakaruna+bank+of+ceylon+oil+hedging&source=bl&ots=XJkRW6CRGg&sig=uH7NruX9sH95_490jGJAnZfQPkg&hl=en&sa=X&ei=-_zYU_DYD8Hq8AWgnoG4CQ&ved=0CCIQ6AEwAg#v=onepage&q=saliya%20rajakaruna%20bank%20of%20ceylon%20oil%20hedging&f=false