Perpetual Treasuries Limited part-funded Bar Association’s LAWASIA event in Colombo
Posted on July 7th, 2018

by Shamindra Ferdinando Courtesy The Island

General Secretary of the Communist Party and former Chairman of Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE) Dew Gunasekera yesterday said the Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) owed an explanation to the country on why funds were solicited from tainted primary dealer, Perpetual Treasuries Limited (PTL), over a year after the exposure of its direct involvement in the first Central Bank treasury bond scam perpetrated on Feb. 27, 2015.

Gunasekera insisted that BASL couldn’t be unaware of the PTL involvement in the largest ever financial scam involving the Sri Lanka Central Bank due to extensive media coverage since March 2015.

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Dew

He called for a thorough inquiry into the circumstances under which the BASL had obtained funds for Law Asia 2016 Golden Jubilee Conference held one year after last parliamentary polls on Aug 17, 2015.

Gunasekera was commenting on a Ravaya exclusive in its July 8 edition which was available at news stands the previous day. Ravaya reported that PTL had provided Rs 2.5 mn whereas the Justice Ministry sponsorship amounted to Rs 2 mn.

President’s Counsel Geoffrey Alagaratnam functioned as the President of the BASL at the time of the Law Asia 2016.

President Maithripala Sirisena and PM Ranil Wickremesinghe were present at the inauguration.

Among sponsors were Tokyo Cement, Bank of Ceylon, MAS Holdings, Dialog Axiata, SriLankan Airlines and Aitken Spence.

Gunasekera told The Sunday Island that had the BASL sought funds from PTL before the media exposure of the first Treasury bond scam it could justified its involvement in the third high profile Law Asia event to be held in Colombo. Law Asia gathered in Colombo in 1979 and 1993.

The governing body of the parent, the LAWASIA Council consists of representatives of the apex legal representative bodies in 25 countries. As such, its policies and agenda directly address issues confronting the legal profession throughout the region.

Gunasekera said that he couldn’t comprehend how the BASL had sought funds from PTL at a time it was debated in Parliament and a section of the National Unity Government lodged a complaint with the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Corruption or Bribery (CIABOC) regarding the first bond scam.

Responding to a query, the former minister said that by the time the BASL organized Law Asia, bond racketeers had perpetrated the second far bigger scam in March 2016.

Gunasekera pointed out that a presidential commission of inquiry on bond scams was appointed only in January 2017.

Well informed sources told The Sunday Island that the PTL role in Law Asia event had been leaked by a section within the association. The revelation sent shock waves through the legal fraternity in the wake of the Attorney General Department informing the Fort Magistrate Cour that a Ravi Karunanayake-owned company received a Rs 5mn cheque from PTL in 2017 over two years after the first bond scam.

Gunasekera said that the BASL-PTL deal underscored the need to regulate corporate funding received by key institutions as well as political parties. Gunasekera said that BASL shouldn’t have obtained funds from PTL under any circumstances after the Treasury bond scam exposure. Had BASL not been aware of the disgraced primary dealer’s involvement in the bond scam at the time it first solicited money, it should have either refused or returned the donation once the fraud was known, the former minister said.

Gunasekera recalled how UNP MP and attorney-at-law Sujeewa Senasinghe in the run up to 2015 August 17 parliamentary polls sought the court intervention to stop him from releasing COPE report on the bond scam.

It would be interesting to know who had recommended PTL sponsorship knowing the liquor maker. W.M. Mendis and Co. was a PTL subsidiary.

Civil society activist Rajith Keerthi Tennakoon yesterday told The Sunday Island the PTL had made available funds to a range of persons. But, funding of BASL event after two bond scams in 2015 and 2016 demonstrated its reach. Responding to a query, he said the ongoing judicial inquiry would make further shocking revelations, including the media.

Both Gunasekera and Tennakoon urged the judiciary to address the PTL involvement with a BASL event seriously. It would be their responsibility to restore public confidence in the BASL, they said, adding that the revelation regarding the BASL was as bad as lawmakers receiving funds from PTL.

One Response to “Perpetual Treasuries Limited part-funded Bar Association’s LAWASIA event in Colombo”

  1. Christie Says:

    PTL and Mahendrans Aitken Spence and Tokyo Cement. another pack of Indian Colonial Parasites.

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