27 October, 2020

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Chandra Continues To Pressure Monetary Board For Bond Issuance Information

Good governance activist and former Chairman of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce, Chandra Jayaratne continued to pressure the Secretary of the Central Bank’s Monetary Board for information pertaining to the recent Treasury Bond issuance.

Chandra Jayaratne

Chandra Jayaratne

In a letter dated to the Secretary of the Monetary Board on 8th May 2016, Jayaratne while expressing his regret over the position taken by the Monetary Board to not provide information on the issuance, also highlighted that the Board’s position is inconsistent with the commitments towards assuring transparent good governance.

We publish below the letter in full;

8th May 2016.

By Registered Post

The Secretary,
Monetary Board of Sri Lanka,
Central Bank of Sri Lanka,
Janadhipathi Mawatha,
Colombo 1.

Dear Sir,

Exercise of Right to Information in Terms of the Constitution of Sri Lanka and Pending Legislation on Right to Information

I refer to your letter of 6th May 2016, in response to my letter of 19th April 2016 in the above regard.

I regret very much the position taken by the Monetary Board and you, in your above mentioned letter. This position is inconsistent with the commitments towards assuring transparent good governance. It is further untenable, unjust, and narrow in its interpretation of the Constitution and the commitments of the government as embedded in the pending Right to Information Bill.

It appears that the Monetary Board and you have failed to take cognizance of the following, in denying the legitimate request for information;

  • Which was made entirely in the public interest,
  • which would have advanced the interests of the state, the citizens and the stakeholders investing in Treasury Bonds, including stakeholder of the Employees Provident Fund,
  • not being confidential or restricted information, the release of which would not be prejudicial to the interests of the national economy,
  • being information similar to that previously released by the Central Bank publicly, in respect of the Bond Issue of 27th February 2015
  • being information similar to that submitted in support of a Fundamental Rights Application, presented before the Supreme Court challenging the 27th February 2015 Bond issue
  • which would transparently show whether any malpractices or unacceptable practices to the detriment of the state and citizens had taken place
  • which if duly complied would have sent the correct signals of the Government’s commitment to Good Governance based Right to Information, even before the relevant bill was passed.

I trust that the Monetary Board and you will once again duly consider as to “How the releasing of information about bonds that have already been issued ” can cause serious prejudice to the economy of Sri Lanka by disclosing prematurely decisions to change or continuing government economic or financial policies ..“?

I would however agree that the release of such information could lead to professional and public scrutiny and even possible consequential complaints to the authorities, if these transactions indicate any malpractices or possible loss to the state. In such an eventuality, consequential follow up investigations, may however seriously prejudice the interests of any persons who may have engaged in any such malpractices, causing a loss to the government and even become liable to prosecution.

I trust that the Monetary Board and you will once again take due recognition of the following;

  • The Commitments of the Government to ensure Good Governance, through transparency, Right to Information, Upholding the Rule of Law and Anti-corruption Actions, (as articulated with emphasis by the President and the Prime Minister),
  • The Indian Supreme Court Ruling in December 2015, noting that the banking regulator (RBI) cannot withhold information citing ‘fiduciary relations’ under the Right to Information (RTI) Act and stating “The RBI as a Watch Dog should have been more dedicated towards disclosing information to the general public under the Right to Information Act”,
  • The policy commitments of the government in regard to open government partnership
  • Commitments likely to arise from the Anti-Corruption Summit to be held next week to step up global action to expose, punish and drive out corruption in all walks of life, where world leaders (including the President of Sri Lanka), business and civil society will agree a package of steps to:
  1. expose corruption so there is nowhere to hide
  2. punish the perpetrators and support those affected by corruption
  3. drive out the culture of corruption wherever it exists
  4. and reconsider the position as articulated in the letter of 6th May 2016.

Yours Sincerely,

Chandra Jayaratne

CC. The President
Prime Minister
Minister of Finance
Speaker of Parliament
Minister of Justice and Law Reform
Minister of Mass Media & Information
The Governor Central Bank
The Members of the Monetary Board

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Latest comments

  • 6
    3

    There cannot be smoke without fire. The case is for next Government.

  • 4
    1

    This Institution, CB must be exposed and there should not be any stopping to it. We are waiting to see the Government action of “Appointment” of the Governor at the end of the tenure of employment of the present incumbent. His appointment is due to end very shortly and let us see what the “Miracles” that the President promised us after May 1st are going to be. Can or should a Government allow an APEX Institution like the Central Bank of the country fall into a MESS like what it is today? This is yet another moment to TEST the capability of the Government and its Leaders.

  • 3
    1

    How can a government which is said to be investigating corruption by a special body, refuse to divulge information which appears to be a corrupt process of sales of Treasury Bonds ?

    The names of those persons who actually altered the rules to suit primary dealers at auctions, should be divulged, and these persons & their supervisor the Governor, charged for corruption.

  • 3
    1

    Hope its not too late for Chandra to include Greek Bond deal in his request. Decision to buy Greek Bonds is supposed to be the dumbest decision taken by the CBSL in its history. At the time of purchase Greece was fast moving towards bankruptcy.

  • 7
    0

    Mr Chandra Jayaratne,

    All what you say is well and good. And what you are doing now in long overdue; all kudos to you.

    And I believe that Ranil is pushing things under the carpet. I don’t know his motives, perhaps, he doesn’t want to fight too many battles at the same time. I also believe that Ranil’s intentions towards the country are more genuine than Mahinda’s. Let’s cut the crap and be truthful here.

    But what I can’t fathom is that all you esteemed gentlemen of the Lankan business elite behave as if all the corruption in the Central Bank started with the new governor Mahendra (or whatever his name is.) You guys failed to see, or even took the trouble to acknowledge that the new governor walked into an utterly corrupt system set up by Cabral and carried on from there. The new governor didn’t walk in and presto! there was corruption! He just walked into probably, the most corrupt institution in SL and went ahead with whatever was already set up. Do you want me to list Cabral’s shady deals here?

    Now, if you or anyone tell me that Cabral ran it ship-shape then I will at once know your motives. And the argument ends there.

    This is not to put you off from your current task but to point out that there were people hand in glove with all the corruption of Mahinda without even a murmur.

    So, where was your self-righteous indignation during 10 years of Cabral’s monumental corruption in the Central Bank? If you tell me you were afraid to speak because of the white vans, I’ll understand, and I’ll be the first one to appreciate your honesty.

    But when none of you pillars of the SL society raised even a murmur ordinary citizens like us are left baffled. Or would you say there is more freedom of expression now without the fear of death? As a pillar of the business community please explain your collective-silence during the 10 years of Mahinda’s rule.

    Sri Lanka doesn’t move forward an inch not because some shopkeeper in Matara or Jaffna sells underweight, or some cop in the Boondoggles takes a bribe. Sri Lanka doesn’t move forward because the “elites” in the highest positions are corrupt to the core.

    At times one is left to wonder if Kudu Lal et al learned their ethics/moral from you guys or you form them!

    I feel like walking the streets of Colombo in the midday sun with a lamp, looking for a honest man!

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