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PARLIAMENT

Duty of all to wipe out corruption - Deputy Minister Alagiyawanna

Deputy Minister of Finance and Mass Media Lasantha Alagiyawanna said it is irrelevant if anyone is an old rogue or a new rogue, and the responsibility is vested in Parliament to ensure that such debates never happen again and corruption is wiped out from this country.

Joining the debate on the Bond and PRECIFAC report in Parliament yesterday, Alagiyawanna said corruption, wrong doing and fraud should be wiped out from this country permanently.

“Especially as the SLFP, we have unpleasant experiences. In 2015 most of us within the party worked for the victory of Mahinda Rajapaksa. However, the people rejected him. Various people interpret this defeat in numerous ways. But we have done a self-assessment of why we lost. We too humbly admit that we are also stakeholders in this defeat. “

He said that is the reason that they are committed to wiping out corruption from this country and have embraced a clean political path under the leadership of President Maithripala Sirisena.

“Hence today the whole country is working unitedly towards the eradication of corruption and fraud. At this point we too have a responsibility of not expecting any political gain through this endeavour. We have to face and have seen various media reports which sometimes is very saddening,” he said.

Having completed the investigations into the Bond and serious crimes report, we must understand our responsibility as Parliamentarians,” he noted.

Alagiyawanna said the Bond Commission had requested for extensions, but then there were allegations levelled that the government was trying to hide the Bond report and safeguard the perpetrators.

“Then even a few days before they were arrested, the government came under criticism that the bond scam perpetrators would never be arrested.

Yet we must endure all this criticism and still move in the right direction.”

He also noted that the laws within the Central Bank needs to be revised, to prevent such occurrences in the future.

The Deputy Minister noted that the government needs to ensure that such fraud and corrupt activities are never repeated in this country ever again as it is their responsibility as public servants.


SLFP does not agree to remove any person’s civic rights:Amaraweera

The Sri Lanka Freedom Party ( SLFP) does not agree to remove any person’s civic rights, said Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development Minister Mahinda Amaraweera in Parliament yesterday.

Minister Amaraweera made this observation, joining the Adjournment Motion moved on the Bond Commission and PRECIFAC report by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.

He said that the SLFP had a bitter experiences when the civic rights of late Prime Minister Sirimavo Bandaranaike was removed. He added that due to that reason, it did not need to get involved in a similar exercise.

“Wrong doers could be dealt with by law,” Minister Amaraweera said. “Parliament could amend laws to enable the judiciary to take tougher action on wrong doers.”

Minister Amaraweera further said that the Presidential Commission on the Bond issue was never appointed targeting the UNP, though some attempted to make it seem so.

He added that the Presidential Commission also appointed to look into Srilankan and Mihin Lanka would deal with those involved in destroying the national economy no matter whether they belong to the previous government or the present regime.

He added that it was he that made the complaint regarding this Bond issue.


Treasury bond issue could not be swept under carpet: Wimal

The Treasury Bond fraud could not be swept under the carpet by highliting other frauds, said Joint Opposition Parliamentarian Wimall Weerawansa yesterday. He said such frauds should be dealt separately. He also said that the Treasury Bond fraud was even worse than all the other frauds put altogether.

He made this observation while joining the Adjournment debate on the Bond Commission report and on the Presidential Commission report on Serious Crimes and Abuse of Power ( PRECIFAC) moved by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.

MP Weerawansa said that this was an organised crime that would affect the economy of the country as a whole. He added that the Central Bank was taken out of the Finance Ministry’s control. He questioned as to why Arjuna Mahendran who was a non Sri Lankan was appointed the Central Bank Governor. He was a person who pumped funds for the election of this government. Had the previous mechanism been used to the bond issuance, such frauds would not have been able to be committed. So they changed the previous procedure. DEW Gunasekara’s COPE report was not allowed to be released. State Minister Sujeewa Senasinghe wrote a book on it and later he was appointed to the Cope Committee. They attempted to conceal it.


Using Parliamentary privileges to slander national heroes unethical:Bandula

Joint Opposition MP Bandula Gunawardena said using parliamentary privileges any minister or MP could attack or slander any national hero, but it was not ethical and should not be encouraged. This is not something that happenes in a developed and civilized Parliament, he said.

He made this statement in Parliament yesterday, during the debate on the Bond Commission report and PRECIFAC report in Parliament yesterday.

He said since the period we were under foreign rule, our national heroes were slated and slandered and publicly executed in many instances, but today, we have erected monuments in their honour and we honour them as heroes.

At present, a new trend in attacking our national heroes have commenced since January 2015. The heroes who saved our country from separatist terrorists, intelligence officers and leaders who gave leadership to this struggle are being pursued and attacked.

“Therefore, this is not something to be amused about. This happens from century to century. Hence, we are ready to face any such attack,” he said.Gunawardena noted that during the terror reign of the LTTE, many of our innocent citizens were slaughtered indiscriminately, while great national leaders were killed in a most demeaning manner. It was former leaders of the previous regime that took on the challenge bravely and rid the country of terrorism.

“But unfortunately, we live in a country that puts such people to low levels and attacks them in the lowest possible manner.

This is our misfortune to have to represent such a Parliament in this country.”

He said during the previous Premadasa era, tax payers’ money was doled out to the terrorists directly from the Treasury through Paskaralingam. “I am tabling these receipts.

On August 09, 1989, Rs. 05 million was paid out under his signature, 0n September 15, Rs. 05 million and so on. Now this is the sort of person who is the main advisor to the Prime Minister. Where is Paskaralingam today?”

He noted that many prominent leaders and news establishments had said that providing funds to terrorists was wrong. “Yet they then claimed that the terrorists were provided with funds and weapons to control the JVP and the Tamil militants.

These sorts of people who provided terrorists with money and weapons are now pointing fingers at Mahinda Rajapaksa and Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, claiming that they won’t rest until they are sent to prison.”

He challenged the government to kill him if they could as he vowed to bring the Batalanda Commission report to Parliament at the next debate.


To investigate entire period Mahendran served as CB Governor

‘Presidential Commission a must’

Joint Opposition MP Udaya Gammanpila noted that the Bond Commission covered the period from February 01 to March 31 only. But Arjun Mahendran served as the CB Governor until June 30.

He said so in Parliament, joining the Bond Commission and PRECIFAC Report debate in Parliament yesterday.

“Hence the report does not cover the additional three months. Therefore, another Presidential Commission should be appointed to investigate the entire period that Arjun Mahendran served as the CB Governor.

The profits made by Perpetual Treasuries in April 2016, was Rs. 4,120 million. In May it was Rs. 790.8 million and in June it was Rs. 409.4 million. These are extraordinary profits which is a definite indication concerning the fraudulent and illegal means they had used to earn such profits which had continued during the next three months as well.

Hence, it is only through appointing another commission to investigate how the Perpetual Treasuries earned such a hefty Rs. 5,320 million during these three months that this fraud could be exposed,” he added.

He said the government that came into power on January 09, 2015, said they were here to net in rogues of the previous regime, but they committed the biggest financial theft in the country within 49 days of coming into power.

“The Presidential Commission reports makes it clear that since then, from February 27, this government had been engaged in many a financial crime in the country.”

Gammanpila said that the Prime Minister had brought in a foreign national and appointed him as the Central Bank Governor.

“This was not just said only by me, but even the President said he was against it, but the Prime Minister had vouched for Mahendran’s honesty and had agreed to take the responsibility.” Therefore he wish to know what the Prime Minister intends to do now?

He noted that 103 pages of the Bond Commission report was missing and the President had admitted that these pages contained sensitive information. However, today we received a CD which is said to contain these missing pages.

Further, he said Arjun Aloysius also received advantages and privileges by making use of Arjun Mahendran, as he was the CB Governor. Quoting a paragraph on page 860 of the Bond report, he said, “On April 01, 2016, PTL participated at the OMO auction to borrow 22 billion at 8% to cover shortfalls of the Treasury bonds received at the auction on April 01, 2016. Further, PTL used the Intra Data facility to borrow Rs. 19.98 billion throughout the day (April 01, 2016). However, the company was unable to provide the securities to cover the required OMO auction amounting to Rs. 11.1 billion, and was fined a penalty of Rs. 7.6 million.


Change in procedure helped bond fraud -wimal

The Treasury Bond fraud cannot be swept under the carpet by highlighting other frauds, Joint Opposition Parliamentarian Wimal Weerawansa said yesterday.

He said those frauds should be dealt with separately. He also said that Treasury Bond fraud is worse than all the other frauds put together.

He made this observation joining the adjournment debate on the Bond commission report and on the Presidential Commission report on Serious Crimes and Abuse of Power (PRECIFAC) moved by Prime Minister Ranil Wickramesinghe. MP Weerawansa said that this was an organised crime that affected the economy of the country as a whole. He added that the Central Bank was taken out of the Finance Ministry’s control. He questioned as to why Arjuna Mahendran, who was a non Sri Lankan, was appointed Central Bank Governor. He was a person who pumped funds for the election of this government.Had the previous mechanism been used in the bond issuance, this fraud could not have been commited. So they changed the previous procedure.

D.E.W Gunasekara’s COPE report was not allowed to be released. State Minister Sujeewa Senasinghe wrote a book on it and later he was appointed to the COPE Committee.They attempted to conceal it, Weerawansa said.


First time in country’s history, COPE report had recommended those found guilty be punished:Harsha

The Deputy Minister of National Policies and Economic Affairs Dr. Harsha de Silva, said for the first time in the Country’s history, a COPE report had gone this far. The COPE report had recommended that all those who were found guilty of being involved in the Bond scam be punished.

“It is for the first time a COPE report came this far. I have no connection with the Arjun Aloysius or the Perpetual Treasuries Ltd., and have never met him. So, I have the courage to call a spade a spade,” he said.

He noted that the CID and the Attorney General’s Department officers had the freedom to carry out their investigations independently, without any political interference.

He made this statement in Parliament yesterday, joining the Parliamentary debate on the Bond Commission report and PRECIFAC report. He denied having any connection with Arjun Aloysius or any party nor had any telephone conversation with those involved in the Bond scam. “These reports bear ample testimony to that. Personally, I have engaged in ethical politics, where I am not afraid to accept what is right and stand up against what is wrong. The Deputy Minister said they never protected thieves and in fact had given the fullest support to bring the bond scam perpetrators to justice.

It was told in this House that the loss from the bond scams took place before 2015 (tape). So, according to the Bond Issuance, the Pitipana Committee came up with a report which was again identified in the CoPE report to conduct a proper investigation.

Subsequently, a COPE report was also forwarded to the Attorney General by the Office of the Leader of the House for action, though it was not evident that there was a fraud identified at that time, reports were sent for necessary action. No attempts are seen to catch smaller fish and to keep out the large.

Meanwhile, responding to a statement made by Joint Opposition MP Udaya Gammanpila, who alleged that the current Central Bank Governor Indrajith Kumaraswamy had alliances with Raj Rajaratnam who is a Sri Lankan - American former hedge fund manager and billionaire, founder of the Galleon Group and owns a luxury property in London with funds earned through this alliance, Harsha de Silva said he had contacted the CB Governor and he had denied this allegation.

“Since he cannot be here personally, he wanted me to correct this misconception that he had purchased a house in London with ill earned money. During his tenure as the Secretary General of the Commonwealth, he was given a flat in that building. But now he is living in a small flat in Finchley, North WestLondon. This is utterly unfair,” de Silva said. 


 

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