By Wajira Abeywardena –
As you all know Sri Lanka is in a deep political crisis because of the unconstitutional removal of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and his Government by His Excellency the President of Sri Lanka and appointing Mahinda Rajapaksa as new Prime Minister.
Explaining reasons to his unconstitutional and unethical act, President of Sri Lanka Maithripala Sirisena informed foreign media correspondents of Sri Lanka that Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and his Government are corrupt. He further stated that within 50 days of the new Government (someone) robbed the Central Bank of Sri Lanka. This refers to Central Bank Treasury Bond Auction related case against one company engaged in that business. However, we all know that this allegation was investigated by a special and impartial Presidential Commission. The report with recommendations of this Commission has been submitted to H.E. the President and it has been tabled at the Parliament of Sri Lanka.
In this report, Presidential Commission has clearly identified the true culprits of the case and at the same time cleared Hon. Ranil Wickremesinghe and members of United National Party from all allegations of corruption. In page 875 of the Presidential Commission report, Commission has stated as follows:
Finally, we consider it relevant to state here that, we are aware that there have been speculations, among sections of the public, with regard to whether a part of the Profits made by Perpetual Treasuries Ltd during the period of our Mandate have been transferred to a political party or to persons in the political arena.
In view of these speculations, we obtained the Financial Statements of the Bank Accounts of Perpetual Treasuries Ltd and its Associate Companies, so that these Financial Statement and Statements of the Bank Accounts could be examined to ascertain whether, upon a perusal of those documents, there were indications of unusual and high value transfers of funds which ex facie do not appear to have been done in the course of business of the Companies.
These Financial Statements and Statements of the Bank Accounts have been examined, over a period of time, by the officers of the Attorney General’s Department who assisted the Commission of inquiry.
The aforesaid perusal of the Financial Statements of the Bank Accounts of Perpetual Treasuries Ltd and its Associate Companies did not indicate that there have unusual and high value transfers of funds which ex facie do not appear to have been done in the course of business of the Companies.
In any event, in view of the aforesaid speculation, we specially questioned the Chairman and Secretary of the United National Party and the Hon. Prime Minister whether that political party or any member of that party had received financial contributions from Perpetual Treasuries Ltd or its Associate Companies.
All three witnesses emphatically answered that, they were unaware of any such transactions.
No material has been placed before us which suggests that, this evidence is incorrect.
So that it is very clear that the allegations against Hon. Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and United National Party are wrong. These allegations levelled against Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe are only to achieve political objectives of some anti-democratic and corrupt politicians of the country.
We believe at least after indepth investigations and report, political leaders should refrain from making false allegations to achieve their political objectives.
And we would like to emphasize that United National Front Government led by Hon. Ranil Wickremesinghe had taken several important steps to promote corruption free governance. Some of those are as follows:
1. Strengthen the independent law enforcement mechanisms through 19th Amendment to the Constitution
a) Independent Police Commission
b) Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption.
2. Establishment of Financial Crimes Investigation Department (FCID).
3. Establishment of Independent Audit Commission.
4. Introducing Right to Information Act and establishment of mechanism to realize people’s right to receive information on Government activities, expenses, financing etc.
5. Broadening of Government Development Financing by giving more attention to get funds from international sources like World Bank and Asian Development Bank as well as countries like USA, Japan, UK, Germany and European countries, those who have their own procedures and mechanisms to minimize corruption.
6. Ensuring freedom from political influence for Law Enforcement Agencies such as Police and Judiciary.
From the above, anybody could easily understand how Hon. Prime Minister, Ranil Wickremesinghe and his Government were committed to establish corruption free democratic society in Sri Lanka.
Chapter 30 of aforementioned Report of Presidential Commission, which explains as to what happened to Perpetual Treasuries profits and Chapter 33 that gives Recommendations are attached herewith for your information.
*Wajira Abeywardena, former Cabinet Minister of Home Affairs