For serious and prompt attention of all concerned including the President and all Parliamentarians.
Posted on June 2nd, 2018

Dr Sudath Gunasekara A Former President of the Sri Lanka Administrative Service

6.2.2018

Presidents Sec seeks AG’s opinion on releasing full Bond report

2018-06-01 14:57:41

Following the request made by MP Dayasiri Jayasekara to release the entire Bond Report and related documents, President’s Secretary Austin Fernando today said he had requested the Attorney General for his opinion in this regard.

Mr Fernando said MP Jayasekara had asked him under the Right to Information (RTI) Act, the parts of the Bond Commission Report which were not presented to Parliament, CID investigation reports and all other related documents.

If the Attorney General instructs me to give it all, I will give the entire set of documents. Even I don’t have some of the documents. If both the Attorney General and the Bribery Commission’s Director General said there is no issue, then I will give everything and won’t hide anything,” he said.

He said the 30-year closure law was applicable only for the annexures and not for the bond report.  This is not a decision of mine but a decision of the Bond Commission,” he said.

Meanwhile, Mr Fernando said he was not aware whether there is a list of 118 names as nowhere in the bond report it has been mentioned about a list of politicians, who received funds from the Perpetual Treasuries Limited (PTL).

Without a list, I have to go through many troubles to find names. I know investigations are ongoing by the Attorney General’s Department and the CID. The AG’s Department, CID and the Bribery Commission have to do investigations. However, I’m not familiar with the sensitive nature of these documents because I’m not a lawyer, a Judge nor a Commissioner. Therefore, I asked the AG, and Director General of the Bribery Commission, since they are taking future actions, whether there is no issue in releasing documents if someone requested. I wrote to them on January 18 first and I got mails from both officials on January 22 saying certain facts could be sub-judice and investigations are ongoing and therefore, I should act carefully with regard to these matters. Therefore, I have acted based on their instructions in this regard because I don’t understand what is sensitive and what is not,” he said.

Speaker Karu Jayasuriya has written to the Secretary to President Austin Fernando to send him the list of names mentioned in the Presidential Commission of Inquiry (PCoI) Report as those who had allegedly received financial gratuities from Perpetual Treasuries Ltd. boss Arjun Aloysius.

Mr Jayasuriya has made the request several times to Mr Fernando but there has been no positive response up to now.

An official of the Speaker’s Office told the Daily Mirror that a third request had been made to the Presidential Secretariat a few days ago by Speaker Jayasuriya under the Parliamentary Privilege as the issue involved Parliamentarians.

Speaker Jayasuriya expects a positive response by next week from Mr Fernando as the disclosure of those names is of national interest,” the official added.

The above statement of the Presidents Secretary and the speaker’s letter raise few vital issues of serious public interest

Does this means the Sec to President has to get the permission from the Attorney General and Bribery Commissioner for any official document to be released to an MP or a citizen under the FTI

If that is so are these institutions above the Parliament

Why didn’t he submit them to Parliament when the JO and many others requested through the Speaker to present them to Parliament

Now that he says he has not seen a list or names of persons accused of taking money from Arjun Aloysius does it means that he has not seen the report or not gone through it before he briefed the President to make a public statement on it

If he is not the one, as the Secretary to President who prepared the Presidents statement,then who prepared it. In the event he has not prepared it can he be satisfied that he has done his job as expected by the Constitution

As he says I don’t have some of the documents” then who has them. Is it not his responsibility as the Secretary to the President to be fully satisfied that all relevant documents are intact and duly handed over to him by the Commission? If they are not there is it not that he has failed in his duty as the Sec to the President

This is not a decision of mine but a decision of the Bond Commission” he says.

How can a Presidential Commission, appointed in the interest of the public lay down conditions regarding public documents? If that applies to annexures then it should be true of the whole document. Annexure are there only to elaborate and throw light on matters the text, which are vital for one to fully understand the Report.

Is it not silly and funny too for him to say I’m not familiar with the sensitive nature of these documents because I’m not a lawyer, a Judge nor a Commissioner and further to say I don’t understand what is sensitive and what is not,” going with the high traditions and standards that should be maintained by the supreme (at least expected to be) public service in this country? Does not it prove that he is unsuitable and incompetent to hold this high post?

A Ministry Secretary can always ask for the opinion of the Attorney General, if he has any doubt regarding the legal position, but I don’t think that he should say that he acts on the instructions of the Attorney General and the Commissioners or any Commission appointed under his signature.

Under these circumstances I wonder, how can he justify his being appointed and remaining there as the Secretary to President?

In view of his shady above behavior and his long association with the UNP, having being a member of  Sirikota top team for a long time in his retirement, before he was appointed as the  Secretary Defense in 2001 in particular(which clearly proves that he  was and is not an impartial public Servant) shouldn’t the President seriously look in to his being there perhaps planted by Ranil Wickramasinga to spy on him and sabotage or as a trap to catch the mouse, at least now. His past record as Defense Secretary under Ranils previous Government adds further fuel to this issue.

In this backdrop, and in view of his close relationship with RW who, in my opinion is the chief architect of the CB Bond scam, as I have said several time before via the press, I am not surprised even if Austin’s name also one day get dragged in to this mega robbery, as he was the Secretary to President at the time of appointment of Arjun Mahendran as the governor of the Central Bank. Austin knew very well that Arjuna was not even a citizen of this country and was also a man with shady backgrounds and most of all he was the Secretary of the Executive President of this country who is expected to advice the President on matters like this.His refusal to make this public document public by complying with the requests of parties concerned particularly the Speaker of the Supreme Legislative body, the Parliament, of this country and trying to hide these documents in archives coffers for 30 years I opine that he has committee serious crime or at least let down the high confidence the President may have kept on him as onetime his boss at Polonnaruwa.?  Shouldn’t he be charged for this crime by somebody?

Has he not brought disrepute and disgrace not only to the  Sri Lanka Administrative Service but also the entire Public Service and as such why can’t the Sri Lanka Administrative Services Association (if there is one) take this matter up? And demand Austin to resign immediately before he commits any further damage to SLAS and the Public Service of this country or ask the President to sack him forth with and look for another senior SLAS officer who is capable of performing the onerous duties of this coveted public position.

As one time President of the SLAS (1991-1993) and who had always stood an apolitical Public Servant, at very high cost, who had always stood by the public interest, as it should be of any public Servant, particularly in this country, I feel utterly disgusted and disappointed and concerned to note to what extent the SLAS has been degraded by this type of officials for personal gain.

 

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