With the Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE) scheduled to submit its findings on the bond scam at Central Bank later this month, the Auditor General has confirmed that the country lost a staggering Rs. 1.6 billion due to the scam, highly placed sources said.
The Auditor General had reaffirmed his findings via a communication addressed to the COPE, which is currently finalizing the report on the Bond Scam, despite facing setbacks especially with several UNP members in the COPE attempting to derail the investigation, claiming that the Auditor General’s report is not ‘acceptable.’
Last months, Chairman of COPE Sunil Handunneththi assured Parliament that there was no move to sweep the bond scam under the carpet, in response to an allegation by Joint Opposition MP Bandula Gunawardane that the COPE was attempting to sweep the matter under the carpet due to pressure from certain groups within the government.
In June, the Colombo Telegraph reported that Auditor General implicated ex-Governor of Central Bank, Arjuna Mahendran in the bond scam in a 1200 report that was submitted to Speaker Karu Jayasuriya and COPE. No sooner the highly damaging report on Mahendran was issued, several UNP members kicked off a campaign to work in a manner aimed at jeopardizing the COPE investigation, in their efforts to safeguard Mahendran, who was appointed to the Central Bank Governor post by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe. Soon after the Auditor General’s report was released, several UNP MPs had criticized the report and said that it was not acceptable and therefore a report from an independent party was required.
In September, Perpetual Treasuries Limited, linked to Arjun Aloysius, son-in-law of Mahendran, recorded a profit of Rs. 5.1 billion for the year ending March 2016. The firm has seen a staggering increase in its profits of up to 430 percent in comparison to the previous year. During, Mahendran’s tenure as Governor, Perpetual Treasuries made the news after being allegedly involved in the bond scam. Reports claimed that Perpetual Treasuries was issued, directly and indirectly, with Rs. 5 billion worth in bonds at 12.5%.