CB Governor says not seeking reappointment

Arjuna Mahendran

Under fire Central Bank Governor Arjuna Mahendran said he would not seek reappointment when his term ends next Thursday 30, after the Government came under intense pressure to replace the controversial official.

Governor Mahendran informed the Monetary Board, which is the legal authority that governs the Central Bank of Sri Lanka, that he would not be seeking reappointment until the Parliamentary Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE) reports on its findings related to the 2015 and 2016 Treasury bond controversies, a press release from the Bank said yesterday.

Mahendran informed the Monetary Board of his decision when it met with a quorum of three members last morning.

In its statement yesterday, the Central Bank said: The Governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka Mr Arjuna Mahendran informed the Monetary Board at its meeting held on Friday, 24th June, 2016 that he would not be seeking re-appointment as Governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka when his term finishes on Thursday, 30th June, 2016 until the Parliamentary Committee on Public Enterprises makes its findings known on issues related to the issuance of Treasury Bonds in the years 2015 and 2016.

Speculation is rife that Monetary Board will promote one of its Deputy Governors as Senior Deputy Governor to function as CEO of Central Bank until the COPE report is presented to Parliament, and the Government can make a decision on granting Mahendran a further six year term.

But corruption watchdogs are warning that this de facto ‘acting’ appointment could be Deputy Governor P. Samarasiri, himself implicated in the alleged bond scam of February 2015.

Advisor to the Anti Corruption Front, Rajith Keerthi Tennakoon warned that any attempt to appoint Deputy Governor Samarasiri would be controversial, since he had “provided the logistics” for the controversial bond auction in 2015. “This is a conspiracy, some kind of political game to reappoint Mahendran at a later date,” Tennakoon said.

Deputy Governor Samarasiri is not the senior most Deputy Governor at the Central Bank but has been appointed as Senior Deputy Governor (SDG) of Central Bank position over the past year during Governor Mahendran’s absence. The policy of appointing a Deputy Governor who is not the most senior of three serving DGs as SDG first occurred under the tenure of Central Bank Governor Ajith Nivaard Cabraal and has been continued under the present administration. The senior most Deputy Governor at Central Bank at present is Dr. P. Nandalal Weerasinghe.

(Source: FT.LK – By Dharisha Bastians)

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