The Monetary Board of the Central Bank yesterday announced that an internal inquiry is underway to look into the transactions made by the Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF) in government securities (G-sec) during 2015 and 2016.
“An internal examination is currently underway under the direction of the Monetary Board on transactions of the EPF in government securities during 2015 and 2016,” a Central Bank statement said.
It added that the law enforcement authorities have also been requested to carry out an external independent investigation into the issuance of government securities in 2015 and 2016 and related matters, as it involves examining internal operations carried out by the staff of the Central Bank.
“With regard to the operations of the EPF, the Monetary Board, during the past six months, has taken several measures to strengthen the decision-making process with respect to investments. These serve to safeguard the interests of the members of the EPF,” the Monetary Board added.
Allegation have been levelled against the controversial primary dealer Perpetual Treasuries of dumping bonds, which were bought at higher yields (low prices), to the EPF in the secondary market at low yields (high prices), making thumping capital gains.
Former Central Bank Governor Arjuna Mahendran, under whose tenure the controversial bond transactions took place, is the father-in-law of Perpetual Treasuries ultimate owner and former Director Arjun Aloysius, who claims that he was
not involved with Perpetual Treasuries during the transactions.
The EPF falls under the purview of the Central Bank and those who mange the EPF are tasked with bringing the best returns for the EPF members, while the Central Bank is tasked with attracting the lowest interest rates for government debt.
A leaked Central Bank on-site investigation of Perpetual Treasuries, which was verified by the Central Bank later, noted that the EPF could have directly bought the government securities at lower prices from the primary market.
A parliamentary Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE), in its final report on the investigation into the Central Bank bond controversy, held former Governor Mahendran directly responsible for
the questionable transaction and called for legal action.
The report was referred to the attorney general by the prime minister for further action.
President Maithripala Sirisena last Sunday said he would appoint a presidential commission to investigate the bond scam.
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