COPE report on bond scam: DEW to go public today

DEW Gunasekara

The on-going controversy over the investigation carried out by a special 13-member committee into alleged Central Bank bond scam has taken a new turn with former Chairman of the parliamentary Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE) Dew Gunasekera deciding to go public today.

The Gunasekera committee was the first in the country’s parliamentary history appointed to inquire into a specific transaction.

The General Secretary of the Communist Party and former MP has called for a media briefing today (July 3) at the Sri Lanka Foundation Institute (SLFI) to explain the circumstances under which he in his capacity as the COPE chief received a mandate to probe the CB transaction.

The veteran politician yesterday told The Island that he had no option but to respond to several contentious matters raised by various interested parties since the dissolution of parliament last Friday. Gunasekera declined to elaborate while adding that he intended to address the media, alone, as former Chairman of the COPE.

Gunasekera admitted that the UNP strongly objected to the report.

Former COPE chief declared his intention to go public close on the heels of committee member Prof. Rajiva Wijesinha’s call for the next parliament to take up the matter regardless of the outcome of the August 17 parliamentary election.

The subject of the probe was a 30-year bond auction for Rs.1 billion on February 27. The CB received 36 offers amounting to Rs. 20 billion, it has been found.  Earlier CB officials had given an indicative rate that interest rates of 9.5 per cent would be taken into consideration with such pre-auction advice being the usual practice. However instead of selling one billion rupees worth of bonds they ended up issuing ten billion rupees worth at an enhanced interest of over 11 per cent. Central Bank increased offer to Rs 10 billion with Rs 5 billion to Perpetual Treasuries. Of this, Rs 3 billion was given at 12.5%, there driving up yields of 30-year bonds to 11.73% from 9.5% and also drove yields across other tenures.

(The Island)