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FINANCIAL CHRONICLE™ » FINANCIAL CHRONICLE™ » Treasury Bonds Investigation; Ranil’s Committee Lacks Credibility: Chandra Tells President

Treasury Bonds Investigation; Ranil’s Committee Lacks Credibility: Chandra Tells President

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StockGuru

StockGuru
Senior Manager - Equity Analytics
Senior Manager - Equity Analytics
Three member committee appointed to probe into Treasury bonds issue

Treasury Bonds Investigation; Ranil’s Committee Lacks Credibility: Chandra Tells President Ranil-Wickramasinghe-150x150
Ranil Wickremesinghe

A Three-member committee has been appointed by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe to probe into the controversy that has emerged over the issuance of Treasury Bonds.

A statement released by the Prime Minister’s office today states the decision was made yesterday following a discussion between the President and himself.

Accordingly, Gamini Pitipana has been appointed as the committee Chairman while Mahesh Kalugampitiya and Chandimal Mendis have been appointed as the two other members of the committee. They have been mandated with investigating into the allegations and submitting a report including their findings, immediately. The media release further states that the conclusions of the committee report would decide the next course of action to be taken with concern to the treasury bonds issue.

This committee was appointed following criticisms and concerns raised by many parties and media reports that emerged concerning the blatant abuse of power by the Central Bank governor Arjuna Mahendran to favour his son-in-law with concern to the issuing of treasury bonds that opened on February 27 through which a sum of Rs. 1 billion had been offered. The allegation was that although the rates of the bonds were expected to be in the range of 9.5%, it had been escalated up to 12.5 % under the instructions of Mahendran. Media reports claim his son-in-law was fully aware of this step and as a result, managed to gain a massive profit by bidding at the renewed rates.

Committee Questionable?

The three-member committee appointed by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe to probe into the controversy that has emerged over the issuance of Treasury Bonds, totally lacked the required capability – knowledge, skills, attitudes and values -and appeared to have questionable independence due conflicting network connections to a political party which constitutes the government, says Good governance activist and former Chairman of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce, Chandra Jayaratne.

Treasury Bonds Investigation; Ranil’s Committee Lacks Credibility: Chandra Tells President Chandra-Jayaratne
Chandra Jayaratne


Jayaratne suggests that the inquiry panel be reconstituted with immediate effect, to comprise of four members;
Senior Retired Central Bank Official– eg. Former Deputy Governor -Mr. W. A. Wijewardena
Senior Retired Treasury Manager of a Commercial Bank- eg, Retired Citi Bank International Treasury Manager -Mr. Sanjiva Senanayake
A Chartered Financial Analyst- eg. Former President of CFA Association Sri Lanka-Mr. Malinga Aresacularatne
A practicing Chartered Accountant- Assurance Head of KPMG -Mr. Suren Rajakarar
ensuring that all members of the panel assure that they have no conflicts of interest and related party connections to any persons or entities connected to the subject of the inquiry.
“It is best that the Central Bank Governor, whose purported related party interests are the subject of this inquiry, should demonstrate his personal commitment to the ongoing inquiry, preferably by taking voluntary leave of absence from official duties during the inquiry period.” says Chandra Jayaratne.
CB Governor Arjuna Mahendran’s controversy emerged a few weeks ago with concern to his intervention in the issuance of Treasury Bonds through which his son-in-law had been given an upper-hand in the bidding process.
“It is my fervent hope that the “Yahapalanay Commitment” will stand firm and effectively implemented in Sri Lanka under your leadership.” Chandra Jayaratne has written to the President.


We publish below the letter in full;

The President of Sri Lanka,
Presidential Secretariat,
Janadhipathi Mawatha,
Colombo 1.

Dear Mr. President,
Caution – Are Interested Parties Making a Mockery of “Yahapalanaya”?

In your election manifesto, you articulated a vision with an action programme to set in motion a change process that will ensure good governance in the country and end the regime of management of the affairs of the state previously said to be engulfed in corruption, waste, nepotism, conflicts of interest/related party transactions and transactions which lack transparency. Your election to office was mostly based on this key personal commitment.
You were quick to realize that the upholding of your public commitment was at stake, on being briefed whilst overseas, of media criticism of a probable alleged scam or lack of transparency in connection with a long term bond issue made by the Central Bank in end February 2015. Your response action in instructing your Secretary to arrange a full independent inquiry in to this alleged scam was hailed by the civil society as an action in keeping with your commitment to good governance.
The importance of an independent inquiry by competent persons are further heightened by the revelations in media that the parties in question connected to the purported scam may have even be connected to similar transactions of a questionable nature in the past and also that the questionable processes adopted may have been repeated in subsequent bond issues in March 2015. These purported allegations which may be unfounded are also bound to affect the integrity and reputation of senior public officials, as well as private sector financial professionals. Hence, it will be in the interest of all concerned that the inquiry findings are expeditiously and transparently dealt with, and the rule of law and good governance be the focal objectives of all concerned engaged in the inquiry and consequential action.
The civil society was extremely disappointed by the next steps that followed from your above instructions. It noted that the Committee announced as appointees to constitute the inquiry panel, totally lacked the required capability ( knowledge, skills, attitudes and values) and appeared to have questionable independence due conflicting network connections to a political party which constitutes your government.
Civil Society then asked “Are Interested Parties Making a Mockery of “Yahapalanaya”? My own view is that interested parties are not only attempting to frustrate the good intentions of your response action, but are in fact insulting your stated commitment and undermining the high esteem of citizens have in you and your government.
The task of the inquiry panel is not to prosecute or prepare charge sheets for prosecution, nor even to examine contracts and interpret them in a legal interpretation. Thus criminal and civil lawyers, with no capability in the areas of banking, finance, macro economics, public finance management, securities and investments trading and associated procedures, processes, controls, compliances and international best practices will not be able to complete the tasks required to deliver a credible inquiry finding classified as one developed by persons with capability, independence and integrity of purpose.
I suggest that the inquiry panel be reconstituted with immediate effect, to comprise of four members;
Senior Retired Central Bank Official– eg. Former Deputy Governor -Mr. W. A. Wijewardena
Senior Retired Treasury Manager of a Commercial Bank- eg, Retired Citi Bank International Treasury Manager -Mr. Sanjiva Senanayake
A Chartered Financial Analyst- eg. Former President of CFA Association Sri Lanka-Mr. Malinga Aresacularatne
A practicing Chartered Accountant- Assurance Head of KPMG -Mr. Suren Rajakarar
ensuring that all members of the panel assure that they have no conflicts of interest and related party connections to any persons or entities connected to the subject of the inquiry.
It is best that the Central Bank Governor, whose purported related party interests are the subject of this inquiry, should demonstrate his personal commitment to the ongoing inquiry, preferably by taking voluntary leave of absence from official duties during the inquiry period.
It is my fervent hope that the “Yahapalanay Commitment” will stand firm and effectively implemented in Sri Lanka under your leadership.
Yours Sincerely,

Chandra Jayaratne

Courtesy: https://www.colombotelegraph.com

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