Following the special statement made by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, Member of Parliament Bandula Gunawardena insisted that the President Maithripala Sirisena and the Central Bank Governor reveal to the people whether the Treasury bond frauds actually took place between 2008 and 2014, when Mahinda Rajapaksa was the President cum Finance Minister.
If it is not revealed, Sri Lanka will not be able to obtain loans from the world’s financial market, the Joint Opposition Parliamentarian revealed, when addressing a media briefing, yesterday.
“Last week, at the request of the Premier himself, a special statement was made by him to the world taking full responsibility, after summoning a special session of the Parliament. Based on the statement, the confidence reposed in Treasury Bills and securities issued by the Government has been eroded. That would result in the Treasury Bonds market collapsing completely next week. The issue of securities to the value of Rs 4,702 billion, to conceal the Treasury Bonds scam, during the period between 2008 and 2014, had been carried out without transparency and sans authority, it was stated. This grave charge was levelled by the Premier unlike any other predecessor.”
Investors purchase government securities because of the 100 % faith they have in those. If the bond scam involving Rs 4,702 billion had taken place between 2008 and 2014, the foreign investors would from today withdraw those investments, Gunawardena added.
“The value of the Treasury Bonds will also plummet. When that happens, the Government will be stymied in its efforts when seeking loans to run the government and for its economic development activities.
“During the period Mahinda Rajapaksa was the Finance Minister, when loans were taken on behalf of the government; there was no fraud, corruption or malpractice involving even 5 cents. If on the other hand, there had been misappropriation in billions of State funds, the incumbent President Maithripala, myself, Nimal Siripala de Silva, Priyadharshana Yapa, Ministers Champika Ranawaka, Rajitha Senaratne and Sarath Amunugama are collectively responsible. If during our period, the Central Bank, which is the State’s financial counsellor, such a fraud had been committed when taking international or local loans, we did not have the ability to fasten the responsibility on Mahinda Rajapaksa, the Finance Minister alone. In such circumstances, what should have been done first was, arrest all those of the last government, including me, because such a monumental fraud should not take place.
“In these circumstances, what we request of President Maithripala Sirisena and the Central Bank, which has wide powers over the country’s funds in general, and the banking system and loans, to immediately make a statement as to whether between 2008 and 2014, there had been a malpractice when Treasury Bills were issued by the government, that are used in global transactions. In the event of the Central Bank not issuing a statement, then there exists a crisis as regards the general finance, lending system and among banks.
“We say, taking full responsibility, that during Mahinda Rajapaksa’s tenure there was no Treasury Bond scam. Who gives the certificate confirming the security of the investments of the investors in the Treasury Bonds? If the confidence in the country’s financial market is undermined, not only this government even the future governments will not be able to obtain loans in the international financial market.
“The Central Bank has issued a press notification to the public last week. In that, there are two things mentioned: One is, the Perpetual Treasuries Co. which was involved in the Treasury Bond scam, has been barred. The other is, Pan Asia Bank was barred because when purchasing State securities, undue pressure was exerted. This is the first time in country’s history the trust in the Central Bank had eroded.
“This is also the first time that the Central Bank, which is vested with the full authority to print currency notes; wide powers to manage the entire banking industry; financial structure and loans, that such an accusation has been made against it.
Based on these charges, the value of the rupee can decline still further tomorrow. If a financial crisis is precipitated, Sri Lanka will drop to the level of an African country. The statement made by Ranil Wickremesinghe is a very grave revelation.”
(Source: Ceylon Today – By Ishara Silva)