JO seeks Singapore intervention to probe Mahendran Calls for freezing Perpetual Treasuries assets
Posted on November 9th, 2016

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Alleging that those who had committed mega bond scams in Feb. 2015 and March 2016 had gone scot free, the Joint Opposition yesterday revealed its intention to seek immediate intervention by the Monetary Authority of Singapore.

Former External Affairs Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris said that having examined the situation, the JO felt the urgent need to bring alleged scams on the watch of Singaporean national Arjuna Mahendran as the Governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka.

Addressing the media at Punchi Borella, Prof. Peiris said reports issued by the Auditor General, the Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE) and the Central Bank on the bond scams would be handed over to Singaporean authorities.

Pointing out that Mahendran, in spite of being replaced by Dr Indrajith Coomaraswamy in June last year, had received a top government position, Prof. Peiris said that the information regarding the Central Bank matter would be also made available to the IMF, the World Bank and Asian Development Bank.

Responding to SLFP Central Committee decision to appoint a special committee to examine the controversial bond issue, Prof. Peiris called for immediate action on the basis of the available reports. He said the Central Bank report titled, ‘Perpetual Treasuries Limited: Findings of the on-site examination’ leaked in September, 2016 expertly dealt with the issue. “There is no requirement for anymore special committees. All of us know what happened and identities of those responsible are also in the public domain.” Prof. Peiris stressed that tangible action could be taken on the basis of the Central Bank report alone.

On behalf of the JO, Prof. Peiris set three conditions necessary for ensuring a transparent and effective inquiry into what was now dubbed as Sri Lanka’s biggest financial fraud.

Prof. Peiris called for immediate suspension of all bank accounts operated by influential primary dealer Perpetual Treasuries Limited, suspension of its licence to function as a primary dealer and the resignation of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe to ensure an impartial investigation.

Prof. Peiris alleged that Premier Wickremesinghe had repeatedly intervened on behalf of the company run by Arjuna Mahendran’s son-in-law Arjun Aloysius and therefore justice couldn’t be expected as long as the UNP leader remained in charge of the Central Bank.

The former Colombo University Vice Chancellor said the Central Bank should be placed again under the Finance Ministry.

Commenting on President Maithripala Sirisena’s recent assurance that the bond scams would be dealt through a transparent judicial process, Prof. Peiris said that the President’s intentions weren’t clear. However, the Joint Opposition wouldn’t oppose a Special Presidential Commission as long as it was not used as a tool to delay the judicial process.

Prof. Peiris and MP Bandula Gunawardena alleged that the Perpetual Treasuries and its holding company had used allegedly ill-gotten money to acquire valuable property, including a newspaper, a bank share portfolio and Colombo land. Prof. Peiris said that the process would continue until action was taken to suspend its operations. The former External Affairs Minister underlined that the immediate implementation of JO’s condition was required to stop further sordid operations by Perpetual Treasuries.

Prof. Peiris said that Perpetual Treasuries couldn’t have obtained after tax profit amounting to Rs 10.1 bn through legal means.

MP Gunawardena said that those who had committed the bond scam were busy setting up a major media project in the near future. “They are in the process of hiring journalists,” MP Gunawardena said, adding that the media project was aimed at protecting their interests.

The former Education Minister Gunawardena said the country was in turmoil with national economy suffering severely due to rapid deprecation of rupee against US dollar. Warning of dire consequences, MP Gunawardena said foreign reserves had been badly hit by government efforts to control the market through the release of foreign reserves. In 2015 alone, a staggering USD 3.2 bn had been squandered in efforts to stabilise the rupee whereas the entire IMF loan spread over a three year period amounted to USD 1.5 bn.

One Response to “JO seeks Singapore intervention to probe Mahendran Calls for freezing Perpetual Treasuries assets”

  1. Christie Says:

    Singapore is the most corrupt joint in Asia, legally of course. Fair bit of our money is laundered through Singapore.

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