Top officials of the Central Bank accused ex-Governor Arjuna Mahendran of giving scant regard to any regulation at the bank, breaking all laws, during his tenure as Governor.
During an inquiry conducted by COPE on Thursday, even Deputy Governor P. Samarasiri, who sided with Mahendran while he was in office, had claimed that he along with other officials of the bank were under instructions from Mahendran to go for a higher amount since private placements have been stopped by Mahendran with immediate effect.
However, despite the officials accusing Mahendran of wrongdoing openly, two UNP MPs, who are members of the COPE continued to defend Mahendran at Thursday’s meeting, although the rest of the members had acted in a professional manner.
According to the officials of the Bank, Mahendran had claimed that he was carrying out instructions issued to him by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe. The accusation comes amidst allegations that Wickremesinghe was continuing to shield Mahendran despite his alleged wrongdoings in the issuance of the Treasury Bonds in 2015 and 2016.
During the meeting, COPE Chairman Sunil Handuneththi had had inquired from members of the tender board members whether anyone of them had objected to it; Samarasiri had been silent but another Assistant Governor had explained that he objected but he was overruled by Samarasiri who had consulted Mahendran on the phone after walking out of the tender board meeting.
It has also been brought to the notice of COPE that the termination of the private placement system had been done by Mahendran without getting the approval of the Monetary Board or consulting the senior staff. But subsequently, Mahendran had informed the Board on 7th of March of the termination, and the Board had not ratified it. “This is the contentious issue with Auditor General who says that it had not been approved by the Board in advance,” a source said.