24 June, 2019

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Bond Scam: The Price Of Perpetual Debt

By Sarath De Alwis

Sarath De Alwis

Sarath De Alwis

A man always has two reasons for doing anything: a good reason and the real reason.” – J.P. Morgan

The parliamentary brawl over the Bond Scam was a revealing event. It exposed the fragile nature of the Maithripala Presidency and the UNP administration.

The coercive deep state has been replaced by a duplicitous corporate state. The rich continue to steal from the poor. The educated morons having established a precarious perch in power are busy promising that with enough hard work, they can pay off their debt. The ‘Gamarala’ from Thamankaduwa is under siege by the Royal College ‘chumocracy’.

The UNP establishment with too many people with the same interests and same out of touch assessment of their electoral prospects is on the brink of derailing the movement for good governance.

The puerile attempt by the Prime Minister to take refuge behind past sins of Nivard Cabraal is as obscene as the utterance of the pseudo Marxist comrade deleted from Hansard and heard with a ping on electronic media.

The title of the Report of the three lawyers is explicit. Their remit is to “Look in to the bond issues of the Central Bank 2015”. They have looked and recorded what they found.

RanilInterestingly the report takes note of an observation made by then justice Sripavan on the Greek Bond case which was dismissed by the Supreme Court.

Sripavan J as quoted by the committee says “We must not forget that in complex economic policy matters, decision is necessarily empiric and therefore its validity cannot be tested on any rigid formula or strict consideration…..” The committee seems to have treated the obiter dicta as a binding authority.

That is consistent with the efforts by the government to elevate bond trading in to a higher realm beyond the reach of the average citizen.

Empiricism asserts that experience alone is the basis of knowledge. It relies on observation of facts. Chancellor Angela Merkel observed the facts but got out of the Greek business out of hardnosed assessment of probabilities. It seems that in our dispensation, Nivard Cabraal has an edge over Ms.Merkel.

The UNP seems to be bent on perpetuating crony capitalism and regulatory capture under the seal and approval of the Maithripala mandate for democratic reform.

Before 8th January it was brazen theft. The new plutocrats are redesigning a system that legalizes theft. Cronies have taken over from the brothers.

The Committee has determined that there is no evidence pointing to the “effect that the Governor of the Central Bank had direct participation in the decision making process of the Tender Board Committee.

Yet, they have found the biding pattern of Perpetual Treasuries – the primary dealer linked to the Governor’s son in-law, to be unusual. They have also found that it was unusual for a primary dealer to forward bids through another primary dealer- the Bank of Ceylon which is the premier state owned bank. But the committee has not asked the Central Bank Tender Committee why they failed to take note of the unusual biding pattern and the unusual practice of one primary dealer biding for and on behalf of another primary dealer!

The committee seems anxious to clear the Chairman and the board of directors of the Bank of Ceylon of any wrong doing. It unequivocally asserts that ‘the chief dealer of the Bank of Ceylon had failed and neglected to apprise the Board of the BOC thereafter.’

In an article published in Colombo Telegraph on 14th march captioned ‘In defense of Arjuna Mahendran’ this writer went on record that “The allegation is that the primary dealer connected to the son-in-law of the Governor has put in a bid for Rs. 5 billion directly and through the Bank of Ceylon. The Bank of Ceylon is now headed by Ronald Perera P.C. and high profile member of the UNP Working Committee. Obviously the impugned insider information would have been available to the Bank of Ceylon as well.

The committee reports that it had interviewed the Governor. It quotes the governor as stating that he made it clear that the restart of auctions was important. The new Governor had pointed out that the previous Governor had borrowed from EPF and invested in commercial banks and instructed commercial banks to borrow from overseas.

In this context he stated that BOC had raised One Billion Dollars. NSB had raised 1 billion dollars andDFCC had raised 200 million dollars.”

This information though startling is not surprising. It was well known. One of the close advisors of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe is Mr. Dinesh Weerakkody. He functioned quite effectively and eminently as Chairman of Commercial Bank under the previous regime. He could not have reached those heights in the absence of at least the passive patronage of the then regime. He is the son in law of Mr. John Amaratunga. He owed his election to the close links of his father in law to the then defense secretary Mr. Gotabaya Rajapaksa whose nominee on the board of the Commercial bank was his controversial aide Mr. Lakshman Hulugalle. The UNP in opposition had a ring side seat in the banking arena. Except for the exuberance of a few young Turks, the old guard of the UNP was a tame appendage of the Rajapaksa monolith.

With a financial system dominated by state owned banks and state influenced banks, the boundaries between political elites and bureaucrats remain blurred. This seems to have escaped the attention of the three lawyers who seem to have avoided peering in to the vortex of spiraling corruption in banks.

The Committee observes that the Bank of Ceylon being a Primary Dealer had placed bids amounting to Rs. 13 Billion for and on behalf of Perpetual Treasuries. The Chief Dealer of BOC and the CEO of Perpetual Treasuries have both confirmed that this was the first time that a primary dealer had forwarded bids at an auction for and behalf of another primary dealer.

The Committee that has been tasked to look in to the bond issue has not bothered to ask the Central Bank Tender Committee as to how this unusual biding pattern was ignored by them.

The Committee has been equally sanguine in its acceptance of the claim by the Chief Dealer of the BOC that the facilitation of the bid was not a credit facility. It records that the Chief Dealer had failed to apprise the BOC board. If it was not a credit facility, what should be the definition of an undertaking that committed the Bank to the tune of 13 Billion Rupees?

When the Committee specifically asked Perpetual Treasuries CEO ‘of his unusual bidding pattern, his explanation had been that they were well aware that the Government would be raising unusually high funds for payments of several projects. The three lawyers could have accessed precedents in cyber space. In the US, John Youngdahl, a former Goldman Sachs Group economist who tipped off the firm’s traders about the demise of the 30-year Treasury bond, pleaded guilty to criminal insider-trading charges in the US.

The committee says that when asked if they possessed any inside information, the response had been that the information was available in the public domain. Hence it was not insider information.

The CEO of Perpetual Treasuries knows his business. He flits and floats in that magic circle of the wealth management industry. He knows that the state owned Bank of Ceylon and the Central Bank under the Prime Ministers purview would serve the people and vested interests even handedly.

The three lawyers have looked with great diligence. They have reported on what was shown to them. In addition to their unsubstantiated assertion that the governor has had no direct involvement, they have returned an open verdict.

What is evident is the unusual and therefore the dubious role of the Bank of Ceylon. The State owned banks have privileged access to governmental officials and are subject to strong political influence. Besides all that, the Bank of Ceylon enjoys a near monopolistic position in the bond market. It is in the forefront in financing loss-making state-owned enterprises. It has a reputation for providing financing on noncommercial terms to certain sectors of the economy. It has a track record of offering direct credit based on political connections rather than risk assessment. Directed lending is part of its special status as the premier state owned bank.

Our democracy held hostage by an autocrat is now captured by a ruling class committed to perpetuate its privileges muted for ten years by barbarians from the Deep South.

The Bond Scam is the result of the ‘chumocracy’ that has been at the heart of the UNP Establishment. It consists of many people with the same interests and the same out-of-touch sense of entitlement coming together to protect their own.

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Latest comments

  • 3
    6

    Mr Sarath de Silva, you made my day buddy, although you are still in the Elite, Anglican , Vellala , Diaspora and Wahabi camp.

    ” The Rich continues to steal from the Poor with the help of the Educated Morons”

    I would have preferred it as the Header because it is a real corker..

    It is good to hear that Son in Law of John Amaratunga and Son in Law of Dr Mahedran are both in it together.

    As you say Alwis, what would our Gamarala know about Bond Markets run by Cognac drinking Bankers .

    And his two Dobermans, I mean Champika and Rathne wouldn’t have a clue what is going on, because all these are in English.

    Right Mr Alwis….

    • 4
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      Right!

      KAS, Then you must also agree with Mr Alwis when he talked about the ” privileges muted for ten years by barbarians from the Deep South”.

      Right?

  • 0
    11

    What drives you to keep attacking Ranil and this regime ? Is it your “out of touch sense of entitlement” that has resulted in your nose getting out of joint as no top Government job has come your way ?

    Just keep your verbal sniping to yourself and drown in whatever mire you are now sinking in.

    • 0
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      Don Quixote,

      You are just a parangi pusvedilla; an empty bag.

  • 2
    1

    Sarath De Alwis –

    “A man always has two reasons for doing anything: a good reason and the real reason.” – J.P. Morgan

    “The parliamentary brawl over the Bond Scam was a revealing event. It exposed the fragile nature of the Maithripala Presidency and the UNP administration.”

    “The rich continue to steal from the poor. The educated morons having established a precarious perch in power are busy promising that with enough hard work, they can pay off their debt. The ‘Gamarala’ from Thamankaduwa is under siege by the Royal College ‘chumocracy’.”

    Read, Long Term Capital Management, Fiasco in the USA.
    Long-Term Capital Management

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Long-Term_Capital_Management

    Long-Term Capital Management L.P. (LTCM) was a hedge fund management firm[1] based in Greenwich, Connecticut that used absolute-return trading strategies combined with high financial leverage. The firm’s master hedge fund, Long-Term Capital Portfolio L.P., collapsed in the late 1990s, leading to an agreement on September 23, 1998 among 16 financial institutions — which included Bankers Trust, Barclays, Bear Stearns, Chase Manhattan Bank, Credit Agricole, Credit Suisse First Boston, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley, Paribas, Salomon Smith Barney, Societe Generale, and UBS — for a $3.6 billion recapitalization (bailout) under the supervision of the Federal Reserve.[2]

    LTCM was founded in 1994 by John W. Meriwether, the former vice-chairman and head of bond trading at Salomon Brothers. Members of LTCM’s board of directors included Myron S. Scholes and Robert C. Merton, who shared the 1997 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences for a “new method to determine the value of derivatives”.[3] Initially successful with annualized return of over 21% (after fees) in its first year, 43% in the second year and 41% in the third year, in 1998 it lost $4.6 billion in less than four months following the 1997 Asian financial crisis and 1998 Russian financial crisis requiring financial intervention by the Federal Reserve, with the fund liquidating and dissolving in early 2000.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Long-Term_Capital_Management#/media/File:LTCM.png

  • 11
    0

    “Our democracy held hostage by an autocrat is now captured by a ruling class committed to perpetuate its privileges muted for ten years by barbarians from the Deep South.

    The Bond Scam is the result of the ‘chumocracy’ that has been at the heart of the UNP Establishment. It consists of many people with the same interests and the same out-of-touch sense of entitlement coming together to protect their own.”

    Very scary scenario indeed! Ranil is looking more and more like he is NOT the man for the job, but the question remains – who is?

  • 9
    1

    Can Ranil Wickramasinghe ask arjun mahendran to resign ? If he accepts such standards, that a person found to be a failure, fraud or simply not up to mark in public life should resign honourably then Ranil should have resigned in 1994 !

    Such ideas are only in democratic cultures like UK, australia

    Ranil’s thinking is that in a country full of modayas and godays if I can hold on long enough I will get to bat again, even as a nightwatchman who thinks he is a opener( the reality now)

    One of the realities of our society is the UNP whgich simply cannot go forward with anew culture. Ranil is the biggest disaster to have happened to this country since independence.

    • 1
      1

      The last person to have resigned honourably from the UK Cabinet was Lord Carrington… quite a few decades ago. Ranil is an Anglophile and mimics them to the letter.

  • 8
    1

    Brilliant diagnosis Mr Sarath de Alwis.

    The disease is the Chumocracy directed by Ranil Wickremasinghe. But the medicine has to be administered by the Gamarala from Thamankaduwa.

    Sarath, how come you did not realize that in order to make sure the Gamarala will take action, he should be told in Suddha Sinhala what he should be doing with / to the Kleptocratic Gang led by Ranil Wickremasinghe.

    Everyone of them should be sued individually through a civil suit for the benefits they have acquired for themselves illegally. I had earlier commented elsewhere that there is sufficient evidence available to convict the Puppet Masters of CBSL, BOC and Perpetual Scum for Insider Trading which has brought disrepute to the Central Bank. As a bonus a separate civil suit may be instituted against Nivard Cabraal and his accomplices for previous bank robberies.

    I suggest that as a first measure, a couple of recognized (public interest) lawyers prepare and publish a brief arguing a case for indictment.

    • 2
      1

      You will be waiting for a very long time to see any of the perps in prison. We have seen the financial havoc created by their ilk in the Western world and when caught red-handed pay the equivalent of 3% of the profits to escape trial without even having to admit guilt. Today we learn that the oft quoted ‘few bad apples’ is not the problem, but the whole system which is now under investigation. When the Central Bank which is meant to hold the leash on the other banks, and it’s head is corrupt then God help us.

  • 1
    8

    There may be something useful in all this but the article is so badly and involutedly written, and the writer combines what may be some useful exposure with so much subjective bile of his own, that its potential usefulness is completely lost.

  • 3
    1

    Democracy is a scam repeated many times all over the world. Politicians invest huge sums of money to get elected and by the time they leave power, they have multiplied their investment by a 100 fold. That’s the reality of DemoCrazy. They do not care the debt they leave behind. Their Atheistic mentality and belief makes their conscience at ease.

    “An atheistic and materialistic democracy seems to me a very hell upon earth.”
    — Edmond de Pressensé (1824-1891) French preacher, writer and orator

  • 4
    0

    Don quixote is very low.Sarath De Alwis is obviously well read and is a good critic of the system. But to impute various motives , that he is after a job from ranil without any evidence is not right. Maybe Don quixote and his family carry such blood but all are not servile followers of that sad Me Beans of Sri Lanka . After the way Ranil handled Arjun Mahendran affair I dont have any respect for this man.

    • 0
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      Harry,

      You mean to say you had respect for him before? Really??

  • 0
    0

    ‘The cronies have taken over from the brothers’
    That statement says it all in a nutshell!

  • 1
    0

    Has Ranil gone mad or bad !!!!

    Even the Elite with brains and conscience are up in arms and want the Father in Law out, just for breaking Yahapalana promise not to practice Nepotism and keep totally on Ethical track.

    Forget about the swindle of the Century of LKR 6500 Million, which the Elite and the Anglicans have to pay back for 30 years at the bumped up rate of 13 %.

    Cabby our former Governor never did such dirty deals.

    And Cabby has demanded the un Elected PM Ranil front up to him on a Nationally Televised debate.

    And to listen to how the Bond Trading was done under his watch.

    Why didn’t Ranil agree to debate Cabby?

    We know he hasn’t got balls. But couldn’t he borrow some and bring Mahendran to help him debate Cabby?..

    I am sure Cabby wouldn’t mind that at all.

    Ranil’s latest gimmick is to call for a another investigation in to how the Bonds were issued before.

    He must be taking the Elite and the Anglicans for a bunch of dumb wits.

    Because they are the ones who pay Income Tax and Ranil’s mate exorbitant fees as well…Right…

  • 0
    0

    Its time the CBSL automated the whole process of trading by having electronic auction for the Primary market and electronic trading for the secondary market to trade government securities. Ideally there should be a Clearing House to Guarantee trades conclude in the primary market. This would enhance trading of Government debt and lower government borrowing

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