Months after the Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE) found ex-Central Bank Governor Arjuna Mahendran guilty, President Maithripala Sirisena on Sunday said that he will appoint a special presidential commission to investigate the bond scam at the Central Bank.
In a tweet on Sunday, Sirisena said, “I will appoint a Special Presidential Commission of Inquiry this week to investigate the Central Bank bond issue and recommend actions.”
In November last year, Sirisena said that the judiciary must decide on the bond scam, and it was not a matter to be interfered by politicians.
According to the Auditor General the country lost a staggering Rs. 1.6 billion due to the scam at the Central Bank which occurred during the term of Mahendran. A 55 page report by COPE in October found Mahendran guilty as he was directly responsible for the Treasury Bond transactions at Central Bank in 2015 and 2016. The scam resulted in the country losing Rs. 1.6 billion, while primary dealer of Central Bank, Perpetual Treasuries Limited, which is linked to Mahendran’s son-in-law Arjun Aloysius, recorded a profit of Rs. 5.1 billion for the year that ended in March 2016, an increase of 430% in profits in comparison to the previous year at the company.
Following the COPE report, the joint opposition lodged a complaint against Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and ex-Governor of Central Bank Arjuna Mahendran, requesting the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption (CIABOC) to investigate both over their role in the Treasury Bond transaction. However, according to sources the Commission has still not initiated an investigation into the complaint. Since the COPE report was released, several SLFP ministers have been urging the President to appoint a commission to investigate the scam. (By Munza Mushtaq)