26 January, 2020

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HNB Response To Muttukumaru’s Article

Hatton National Bank has today responded to an opinion article written by Amrit Muttukumaru titled – Hatton National Bank & Central Bank Must Come Clean On “Grand Tax Evasion” Allegation. We publish below the HNB response as well as the writer Muttukumaru’s reply to the HNB response in full:

HNB Managing Director/CEO – Jonathan Alles

HNB response:

“We write in response to an article authored by Amrit Muttukumaru titled: Hatton National Bank & Central Bank Must Come Clean On “Grand Tax Evasion” Allegation, published by Colombo Telegraph on 2 January 2020, and which is derived from unsubstantiated allegations published by another website on 23 October 2013.

At the outset, HNB categorically refutes the totally unsubstantiated allegations made by Muttukumaru and reiterates that HNB has at all times strictly honored its statutory and ethical obligations including vis a vis, its obligations relating to payment of all taxes due to the Government.

The truth of this fact can and should be verified by reference to relevant legal authorities such as the Inland Revenue Department and other relevant regulatory and/or supervisory authorities.
Further the Bank has at all times ensured full and proper disclosure of pertinent financial information including all matters relating to outstanding tax assessments against the bank in the relevant Annual Reports, including the time period specified by Muttukumaru.

HNB also continues to contribute the highest percentage of its profits to the Government as taxes, as evidenced in HNB’s 2018 Annual Report, which shows a contribution equivalent to 47% of its operating profit amounting to Rs. 13.8 billion as taxes.

HNB reiterates that to the present day, the bank has not received a single communication from any of the relevant authorities relating to tax evasion, contradictory to Muttukumaru’s unsubstantiated allegations. HNB further notes that Muttukumaru has provided zero evidence to support a single claim made by him, save for a previous article published by the Sri Lanka Mirror.

Similarly, the original article – published in 2013 – itself contains zero evidence of the wrongdoing alleged by Muttukumaru, and simply concludes with the unfulfilled promise that “more information on this fraud will be revealed soon.”

Given the lack of any type of documentary or even verbal evidence provided by Muttukumaru to substantiate his claims, authorities within the bank contacted Muttukumaru in order to understand on what basis his claims were being made but these were ignored.

Muthukumaru’s lack of evidence to substantiate his allegations has not deterred him from repeatedly attempting to do harm to the reputation of an organization which has diligently worked to bolster the standards of banking products, services, and governance in the country, to the benefit of the largest number of Sri Lankan customers, spanning retail, SME, and microfinance.
Given the reckless and malicious nature of his comments, HNB reserves the right to pursue legal action to seek redress against Muttukumaru for intentionally publishing false accusations against HNB.”

Chammika Weerasinghe – Head of Marketing, Hatton National Bank Plc

Muttukumaru’s reply:

At the end of the HNB response is the reply of the writer of the article Amrit Muttukumaru

Amrit Muttukumaru

1) The issues raised in my article “Hatton National Bank & Central Bank Must Come Clean On “Grand Tax Evasion” Allegation” are clearly not ‘Marketing’ issues and hence it is not appropriate for HNB’s ‘Head of Marketing’ to have been involved. Are these not important enough to engage the attention of HNB Managing Director/CEO – Jonathan Alles?

2) My article makes it clear that it is not based on empirical evidence gathered by me but on data available in the PUBLIC DOMAIN. It was published in the website ‘Sri Lanka Mirror’ on 23 October 2013 under the caption “HNB’s grand tax evasion”. The link to the website was given to both Jonathan Alles and then Central Bank (CBSL) Governor Dr. Indrajit Coomaraswamy as far back as 25 September 2017. It was to no avail. 

3) The serious allegations relating to tax evasion have not been refuted by HNB all these years. They were not even refuted when I brought them to the attention of Jonathan Alles – HNB Managing Director/CEO as far back as 10 November 2017 by e-mail and in subsequent reminders.

4) Despite HNB knowing fully well that I have nothing to do with these allegations, HNB MISCHIEVOUSLY keeps referring to “allegations made by Muttukumaru”!

5) My article makes it clear that I am faulting HNB for not investigating the serious allegations in ‘Sri Lanka Mirror’ to determine its truth or falsity. 

6) Then HNB Chairman Dr. Ranee Jayamaha while CONFIRMING wrongdoing on the telephone indicated to me that the ‘Rs 600 million’ mentioned was an exaggeration. In this connection, I requested Jonathan Alles to forward my e-mail of 25 September 2017 to Dr. Jayamaha. Has he done so? If not why?

7) While the CBSL confirmed to me by e-mail on 6 November 2017 “The matter is being brought to the attention of the Inland Revenue Department”, HNB contradicts this by asserting there was no allegation of any tax evasion and an “internal probe” never took place. 

8) If this is the case, it is surprising that both HNB and CBSL have been ‘sleeping at the wheel’ for so many years in the face of these serious allegations!

9) It beggars belief as to why CBSL referred the matter to the ‘Inland Revenue Department’ if there was no merit in the allegations in ‘Sri Lanka Mirror’?

10) It also beggars belief why HNB after keeping quiet all these years only now AFTER my article claims “zero evidence” of the “wrongdoing” alleged by ‘Sri Lanka Mirror’? I re-iterate I have not alleged any “wrongdoing” by HNB or any party connected to HNB.

11) Under the circumstances, is it not disingenuous for HNB to invite me for a meeting on 27 December 2019 to “discuss” this matter? What they should have done was to have invited the Editor of ‘Sri Lanka Mirror’ years ago to substantiate his website’s allegations. What is the implication of HNB’s failure to do so? If HNB is sincere in clearing up this issue in the public interest, should they not do so even now?

12) I demand that HNB forthwith gives a responsible response in the public interest to the serious allegations in ‘Sri Lanka Mirror’ without any further PREVARICATION.

Amrit Muttukumaru

 

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Latest comments

  • 33
    1

    Do any one call HNB a bank? It’s a real shit and horrible. Me and my circles stop banking with them long time ago. The people who get the most from it are Harry Jeyewardene and Soli Captain – who are the major shareholders- and their cronies, and it’s operates like their private bank.

  • 4
    29

    This is now stale news. Drop this shit and focus on the future. Who the hell is this Alles , Theagarajah , Ranee . Let them RIP. Get on with it, if they have failed . Look for new people. Let the inland revenue prosecute them let us move on.

    • 21
      0

      Who are you working for. This ax was meant to be ground. After the financial rape of vinodhini in kundasae, bankers must face capital punishment , if we are to get positive returns

  • 10
    29

    Amrit

    Please substantiate your claims. Please show proof of what you are saying.

    HNB has clearly stated that no regulatory body such as CBSL, SEC, Accounting Standards Monitorng Board or the Inland Revenue has not raised any concerns with them on any of the allegation should made by you.

    Clearly there is an ulterior motive to bring discredit and disrepute to the bank.

    Nimal

  • 6
    31

    the bank should not have responded knowing the unstable mental state of Amrit Muthukumaru instead should have helped him financially to take immediate medical treatment

    • 22
      2

      That’s right sucker, shoot the messenger!

  • 15
    7

    There are thousands of honest employees working at HNB and earning a decent living. We must not blame the bank for the dubious actions of a few.There are some questionable directors, Weerakoday ( also a director at access group) Karunaratne ( of construction background) and a few harry nominees who have no standards.

    • 19
      0

      Ah ah , whistleblowers from inside should have done a leak asap. Way back in the day, the two separate signature

  • 6
    19

    Amrit has a connection to another private bank

  • 4
    21

    This bloody boaring stuff now, let alles , Amrit , Ranee , theyagarja Meet in a boxing ring and play it out. Amrit can be the umpire . This is now over played that the readers are sick of this attack on HNB . What about the forensic report Amrit, let us have your view?

    • 2
      18

      Unfair! who is Amrith, he is nobody. Ask him to bugger off.

  • 2
    0

    Mrs Chiranthi head of international and local political affairs could investigate this and close this with Amrith

  • 19
    0

    For once I have to agree with Mutthukumaru HNB needs investigation

  • 4
    19

    HNB as a bank has evolved in leaps and bounds and their customer service is great. I know it since I bank with them for the last 11 years. I really don’t understand why Mr Muttukumaru is raking up something that appeared in a website approximately 7 years ago and going on about it without substantiating it. Just words are useless – show us the evidence

  • 3
    2

    To all those readers who take swipes at people largely in anger and for jealousy, here is some thing from Steve Jobs to think about . That is only if u have the basic intelligence ,
    “Before you judge me make sure you are perfect”

    • 0
      1

      very true Rohan but do you get any perfect in the world ???

  • 0
    17

    Senseless accusation without substantial facts of this nature is subject to criminal act. Amrith could be sued for billions of rupees. Hatton National Bank is a huge financial organization having credible standing in this country. This kind of petty, unprofessional, cheap tactics to tarnish the image of such an organization should not be taken lightly as it could have negative impact on the reputation that would have negative result in the stock market. Amrith should be arrested immediately to face police inquiry and if found guilty he should be dealt accordingly.

  • 0
    2

    Well said Rohan

  • 2
    17

    Amrit, You were demanding that Indrajit release the forensic audit report. Now it is being suppressed to protect Cabral and 19 top corporates involved in pump and dump operations with the EPF. Why are you so quiet. Make your clarion call to release it.

  • 19
    0

    HNB ha ha ha .we all.know what crooks you are .
    How you robbed that poor lady.
    It is sucide to keep.money in this bank
    Especially the poor people
    Pls bank with VIC Seylan and Commercial.
    HNB will soon have lot of things comming out.
    This bank.muzt be taken over by government.

  • 19
    0

    Gajma & Co made all the money as they charge a % of the tax savings…

  • 18
    0

    Jonathan Alles has nothing to do here…it was infact the former CEO, Mr.Rajendra Theagarajah together with Mr.Gajendran…
    Wonder why Mr.Amrit is behind the CEO who runs his family owned Bank? 😩

  • 3
    17

    Mr Amrit Muttukumaru’s article against HNB is baseless. I refuse to believe these claims and might I add that there is absolutely nothing to substantiate these allegations. I have been a loyal customer of HNB for the past 15 years, and the bank has always been forthcoming in ensuring that my concerns are addressed. It is evident that this is just a mudslinging campaign against the individuals mentioned in the complaint.

    • 17
      0

      Just because you refuse to believe these claims or have been a loyal customer does not prove anything other than your vested interest.

      No smoke without a fire

    • 15
      1

      Tanya _You are either a mutt or party to.the crooks of HNB.
      They have been robbing and cheating their customers for past 4 years.

  • 1
    15

    HNB Lawyers should send a letter of demand. Take him to courts . This defamation must be stopped. Mud slinging must be stopped. Some one else will be his next victim.

  • 7
    0

    Bravo Muttukumaru for your crusade against these racketeers

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