COPE report out; action needed
Posted on October 29th, 2016

Editorial Courtesy The Island

The much-awaited COPE (Committee on Public Enterprises) report on the Central Bank bond scam has been released at last. It is being described as damning, but, we reckon, it is not damning enough.

The COPE report has, as we reported last Friday, reveals that there has been a bond scam and holds the then Central Bank Governor Arjuna Mahendran responsible. It has also called for legal action against the culprits and recovering the losses the state has suffered because of them.

The UNP members of the COPE raked us over the coals for reporting facts and even threatened to sue the editor of this newspaper for doing that. A UNP MP yesterday repeated the call for summoning editors and reporters and questioning them for reporting on COPE proceedings which were not open to the media. Speaker Karu Jayasuriya should have fulfilled his promise to open COPE proceedings to the media in time for the committee’s last few stormy sessions. Better late than never!

We believe that it is media pressure that compelled the government to act with restraint and come to terms with the inevitable as regards the COPE findings. Else, perhaps, the COPE report would not have seen the light of day or it would have been heavily watered down before being released.

COPE Chairman Sunil Handunnetti, presenting his committee’s report in Parliament yesterday, stressed what had been in the previous report (which we quoted from) remained unchanged. Interestingly, he revealed that 16 COPE members had taken exception to footnotes in the final report, but nine others had endorsed them. One member, Ranjan Ramanayake, has chosen to remain noncommittal. His silence is eloquent!

It is a pity that Handunnetti was prevented from revealing to the public his ordeal at the hands of the UNP members of the COPE. The government took cover behind parliamentary traditions and ethics to silence him. So much for its much-flaunted commitment to right to information!

The billion-rupee question is what will happen to those responsible for the bond scam.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe sought to scotch rumours that Mahendran had fled the country. He said the latter would return after attending a wedding overseas. It will be interesting to see whether complaints against the former Central Bank Governor will be entertained by the FCID, CID and other such outfits whose raison d’etre is to arrest the political opponents of the government. A bond fraud which has cost the state coffers billions of rupees is surely a far worse offence than keeping elephants without permits or misusing one or two state-owned vehicles, for which the backers of the former government get arrested.

One should not be so naïve as to expect legal action to be instated against Mahendra or others on the basis of the COPE report. Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has said the Attorney General would have to be consulted first of all. The AG’s department has been reduced to an appendage of the government and former President Mahinda Rajapaksa must take the biggest share of the blame for this sorry state of affairs. It has earned notoriety for helping further the interests of governments in power. Under the previous regime, it let the then Rajapaksa loyalist Mervyn Silva, who owned up to a cheque fraud off the hook. Any other person would have been sent to jail for that.

So, as for the damning COPE report and action to be taken against those responsible for bond scams there’s many a slip twixt the cup and the lip.

It may be recalled that the COPE headed by Wijayadasa Rajapakshe, once, blew the lid off several illegal transactions under the UNP-led UNF government (2001-2004). Subsequently, the Supreme Court declared them null and void and the state took over the Sri Lanka Insurance Corporation and the Lanka Marine Services bunkering facility, which had been sold illegally. But, strangely, nobody was arrested and prosecuted for those illegal deals.

It is now clear that President Maithripala Sirisena was right in denying Mahendran another term as the Central Bank Governor even at the risk of the government breaking up on that issue. Will he go the whole hog and ensure that no one responsible for the fraudulent bond auctions will go scot free?

8 Responses to “COPE report out; action needed”

  1. Ananda-USA Says:

    Is this the same YAHAPALANAYA …. that championed the freedom of the press and the public’s right to know that is now trying to suppress both?

    Yahapalanaya becomes a Yamapalanaya, me thinks!

    Myieee, how LOW the Champions of Humans Rights and Democracy have FALLEN.

    It is now TIME to invite another round of WESTERN and UN Officials to visit Sri Lanka to tell the Sri Lankan people how well their Human Rights, Democracy and Reconciliation project is going, and how they will report that to the Great White Father’s when they return home!

    But, WE KNOW all that is fast going to HELL in a HAND BASKET! Hazanga!

  2. dhane Says:

    Both Yahapalanaya becomes a Yamapalanaya exposed in public less than 2 years. Mahendran gone for a wedding in Singapore according to Ranil. Ranil is full responsible for appointing foreigner as Governor of Central Bank and run away. But nobody in the opposition asked whether PM is aware when he is coming. We are awaiting to see Mahendran getting arrested. Ranil is responsible for appointing Mahendran as Governor to rob on instructions or advice of Ranil. Therefore Ranil also should be arrested and put in remand jail. In 1950s N.J. Jayewardene was Central Governor found guilty dealing with a Hardware Company Chattinard Corporation. NJ was sacked. UNP Moragoda is a grandson of NUJ. UNP is having a history maintaining culprits.

  3. Charles Says:

    This Perpetual treasuries made these profits buying the bonds at a lower rate and selling them to EPDF, hence EPDF is also involved in this scam. But why is this not been mentioned.
    Even though Island Editor Sahabandu writes good editorials he always has a swipe at the former President Mahinda Rajapakase. That I think is to show that he as an objective journalist. But Rajapakse did not cause such scandals and the Bank was functioning well without scandals under the former government.

    Sahabandu cannot compare this horrible Yahapalanaya to Rajapakse Government. They did lot of work and developed the Country as much as the Rajapakses. Yahapalanaya has ruined Sri Lanka and has done nothing to develop the country. They have even prepared the ground for the resurgence of Terrorism. But these journalists keep comparing the yahapalanaya to former government.

  4. Charles Says:

    I meant Rajapakses did lot of work and developed the country, where has Yahapalanaya has done next to nothing by way of development of any sector.

  5. Ancient Sinhalaya Says:

    What action? There will be no action at all that’s guaranteed. Catholic-controlled media will shield the traitor
    chief die hard catholic token Buddhist Batalande Wadakaya pol pot ponil wickramaSinhalakiller and make the
    people who protest the culprits. That’s what is going to happen. Batalande Wadakaya and his catholic buddies
    arjun horandran, john mara, ravi karunkaya, regina cooray, austin fdo, gonja ranja, xxxx harin etc. etc. all are
    above the law. and are untouchable in pathetic
    Sri Lanka. That’s the truth.

    This is how catholic-run traitor UNPatriotic party rules! Used tyres for the Sinhalese to getting roasted. Ask traitor
    chief die hard catholic token Buddhist Batalande Wadakaya pol pot ponil wickramaSinhalakiller. Sinhalese
    can’t question/protest. They going to be burnt in tyres or knife in the back. Still a lot of Sinhala modayas don’t
    understand this.

    Traitor alugosuwa (to Sinhalese only) thambi mudiyanselage jr(at) started using pathalyin to silence the opposition. Since then traitor alugosuwa
    (to Sinhalese only) lk r(at) porisada, traitor alugosuwa (to Sinhalese only) Batalande Wadakaya etc. etc. used/use pathalyin.
    No problem for them since Sinhala modayas can’t see or understand. Sinhalese are not just modayas. Since traitor
    thambi mudiyanselage jr(at) they have become brain dead as well. COPE or whatever the traitor UNPatriotic party
    get away with it. Sri Lanka is ruled by the biggest crook ever traitor chief die hard catholic token Buddhist Batalande
    Wadakya pol pot ponil wickramaSinhalakiller. So Sinhalese don’t stand a chance with this murderous Pathala Man PM.

  6. Fran Diaz Says:

    Why did the Central Bank scam happen ?
    Mostly to pay the large outstanding UNP bills and reward the ‘faithful’, plus CRASH the Economy of the Country to subsequently weaken and sell off the Country, isn’t it ?

    RW was appointed Exec PM by Pres MS ‘because the west wants it so’ (said Pres MS).

    RW’s actions via Arjuna Mahendran’s Bond Scam when he was Governor of the Central Bank shows just how traitorous th RW can be. RW cannot think straight re Sri Lanka needs – he is hell bent on doing everything the wrong way. He has outdone himself this time.

    RW is the biggest traitor Lanka has known in post world war times.

    Who checks the present Exec PM ?
    He is the person responsible for the massive CB Bond Scam as he appointed Arjuna Mahendran as the Governor, CB. Mahendran obviously followed a set Plan and acted as he was expected to.

  7. Cerberus Says:

    I must congratulate Mr. Sunil Handunetti for accomplishing a very difficult task in the face of all the opposition from the UNP members in the COPE Committee and for having the courage to stand up the bunch of jackals in the UNP. I can just imagine what forces were brought to bear on Handunetti to make him veer away from the truth and make black look white. The whole exercise by Ranil was done since the UNP was deeply in debt on Jan 8’15.
    See: 16 https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/arjuna-mahendran-is-innocent-another-betrayal-by-yahapalanaya/
    RW has a history of attempting to cover up all his misdeeds like a cat on concrete.

    1. Take the case of Batalanda commission which recommended that his civic rights be removed. How did he get out of that one? He is supposed to be responsible for the deaths of at least 15,000 youth who were tortured and killed. See: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qqSW3cKNb7k
    2. The CFA agreement which nearly cost Sri Lanka 2/3 of the country, the Millenium city affair, etc. Entire container loads of equipment were allowed to go to the Wanni to LTTE on Ranil’s instructions. See: http://www.island.lk/index.php?page_cat=article-details&page=article-details&code_title=114673
    3. Stopping the taking out of Prabhakaran by the army which had located his exact position in the Wanni. See: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YZWO5fWDikQ4.
    4. Even the killing of Gamini Dissanayake has been attributed to Ranil W by none other than Maithripala Sirisena, the current President. See: http://www.lankaweb.com/news/items/2016/08/30/%E0%B6%9C%E0%B7%8F%E0%B6%B8%E0%B7%92%E0%B6%AB%E0%B7%92-%E0%B6%B8%E0%B7%90%E0%B6%BB%E0%B7%94%E0%B7%80%E0%B7%9A-%E0%B6%BB%E0%B6%B1%E0%B7%92%E0%B6%BD%E0%B7%8A-%E0%B7%83%E0%B7%92%E0%B6%BB%E0%B7%92/
    5. His work with Harvard and MIT to topple the MR Govt and then getting himself into PM’s post when there were an existing PM and cabinet.
    6. His actions when the UNP tried to oust him from the leadership of UNP to maneuver the party members so that he managed to stay on and changing the UNP constitution so that as long as he LIVES he remains the leader of the party.

    RW is a warped person who has no love for the country or the people. He only wants to serve the British Raj at the expense of our people. I think he is determined to hand over the country to the British to take over and re-colonise at the expense of our people and Buddhism. Towards that end, he set out to bankrupt the country and he is working mainly with the Tamils to give a Federal State to the Tamils. He will also sign the ETCA which will open the door to a flood of unemployed Indians to come to Sri Lanka and he is also the one who agreed to a bridge between India and Sri Lanka in 2002.

    It is imperative for the preservation of the country and the people that the people of the country rise up with one voice and ask the President for the removal of Ranil Wickramasinghe.

  8. Christie Says:

    If Perpetual Trustees have divested their haul to another Government related institution then it is a fraud of worst. Something that has never happened in a Capitalist economy.

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