There’s a mastermind behind bond issue ‘fraud’: Cabraal

Ajith Nivard Cabraal

Former governor of the Central Bank Ajith Nivard Cabraal yesterday told the media in Colombo that CB Governor Arjun Mahendran was only partly responsible for the controversial Bond-Issue scam and that there was a ‘mastermind ‘behind the scenes.

“The whole country is shocked by the magnitude of the loss incurred by this infamous transaction. But Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe has been earnestly covering it up, so one can see what the inside story is” Cabraal said.

He said so addressing the media at Longdon Place, Colombo simultaneously launching a new awareness campaign titled,” Vidwath Jana Paura’ which means Academic People-Defender. This awareness campaign will brief the media on important economic and other issues on a regular basis.

“There are a whole host of issues to tell the country, but I will limit today’s comments to three topics only; macro-economic fundamentals, recent comments on the Economic Growth Rate and Exchange Rates made by certain ministers and the scam of the Bond Issue”, Cabraal said.

Speaking further Cabraal said,” The FCID has not started probing the clearly visible irregularities that took place during the Bond Issue in question which has incurred the country a loss of over Rs. 59,0000 million. The FCID probes only charges made by courtesy of the prime minister’s office. The FCID is not a body governed by the laws of the country. The prime minister himself said recently that the FCID would be legally established which goes to show it’s not a body with legal teeth”.

“According to media reports on the COPE report, CG Governor Mahendran had stated that the bond sale was made only through bidding and direct selling of bonds didn’t take place according to a directive given by Prime Minister Ranil Wickramasinghe. Mahendran has said that this directive empowered him to exceed the criteria set by the Debt Department.”

“Mahendran had gone to the Debt Department twice, according to this directive, to complete the transaction process, but he had done it without any regard to the potential damage it could cause to the state finances”.

“We all know what happened just before the COPE report was to be released. We request the authorities of a new government to probe into these and punish those who have committed financial crimes”.

“The Central Bank Annual Report for 2014 was issued under the signature of Governor Arjuna Mahendran on April 27, 2015, and received by the Finance Minister. In the very first paragraph of the report, it is stated as follows: “In 2014, the Sri Lankan economy showed its resilience in the face of domestic as well as external challenges. Real GDP grew by 7.4 per cent in 2014, in comparison to the growth of 7.2 per cent in 2013. Accordingly, GDP per capita increased to US dollars 3,625 in 2014 from US dollars 3,280 in the previous year…”

“Now, after Parliament has been dissolved, Harsha de Silva, who was the Deputy Minister of Policy Planning and Economic Affairs has assumed the role of the Director General of the Department of Census and Statistics and has announced that growth was only 4.5 per cent, and that his statement is not politicised! However, in his anxiety to avoid highlighting any particular aspects of the re-based numbers which seem advantageous to the previous regime, he seems to have down played the major improvements that are portrayed in the re-based figures in many areas”.

Speaking about finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake, Former CB governor said it was the first time one ever got to hear a finance minister making predictions about the exchange rate movement. Can anyone predict such things? His prediction has proved wrong. It was an ‘idiotic’ remark which reflected his subject knowledge.

(Courtesy: The Island)