26 January, 2020

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Open Letter To Daily FT Editor On Selective Exposé Of Bank & Other Wrongdoing

By Amrit Muttukumaru

Amrit Muttukumaru

An open letter to Editor, ‘Daily FT’ on selective exposé of bank & other wrongdoing

Mr. Nisthar Cassim

Editor

‘Daily FT’

12 December 2019

Dear Mr. Cassim,

Selective Exposé of Bank & Other Wrongdoing

It is hugely disappointing that Sri Lanka’s only standalone finance and business journal ‘Daily FT’ is selective in its exposé of alleged corporate and professional misdemeanor. The focus of this article will be on some glaring examples related to commercial banks and CBSL ‘Bank Supervision’.  

Given below is the link to the article Exposé: Hatton National Bank Robs Customers And Auctions Their Properties published in the ‘Colombo Telegraph’ on 10 December 2019 for your necessary attention:

This has been of no apparent interest to ‘Daily FT’ as was my article Governor Indrajit’s Stewardship – Hiding Forensic Audits & Other Issues

Given below is the link to my said article published in the ‘Colombo Telegraph’ on 5 December 2019: (click here)

There has been no response to date from Governor Coomaraswamy who you have described as Highly respected” when reporting his resignation with effect from 20 December.

Alleged HNB Tax Evasion

The ‘Daily FT’ has also shown no interest in pursuing the alleged ‘HNB Tax Evasion’ which was brought to the attention of CBSL Governor Dr. Indrajit Coomaraswamy as far back as 25 September 2017 to no avail. This was included in my said article.

My e-mail in this connection to Jonathan Alles – HNB Managing Director/CEO dated 10 November 2017 has been completely ignored by him. 

In the context of the allegation that then “chairman of the bank Rani Jayamaha has also been able to identify the wrongdoing through an internal probe” I requested Jonathan Alles to confirm:

“(i) whether an “internal probe” took place? (ii) whether it identified any “wrongdoing”? (iii) if so, what were the specific instances of “wrongdoing”? (iv) what action was taken against those responsible for any “wrongdoing”?

Conclusion

You could easily get to the bottom of the damning allegations concerning HNB as your regular columnist Dinesh Weerakkody described as a ‘thought leader’ is the incumbent HNB Chairman (previously Chairman, Commercial Bank). You are seen with him as a ‘moderator’ in ‘Fireside Chats’ with leading business personalities.

Other issues in my said article connected to CBSL ‘Bank Supervision’ relate to NDB Bank and  Sampath Bank.

In my article I posed the question “Is there anything in common between the alleged ‘HNB Tax Evasion’ and the alleged NDB misdemeanor?”

The antics of the ‘Daily FT’ is no surprise given the shameful conduct of its sister newspaper ‘Daily Mirror’. This includes falsely claiming that an almost full page article (with large colour photo) was ‘Courtesy’ of the ‘London Times’. Its relatively unnoticeable ‘Clarification’ which referred to a mere “inadvertence” was belatedly published as a result of my persistence. The readers to date are unaware of the actual ‘source’ of this article! The owner of your publishing company (‘Wijeya Newspapers Limited’) was the Chairman of the ‘Press Complaints Commission of Sri Lanka’ at that time. This is merely the tip of the iceberg!

It is my personal view that under the circumstances, ‘Colombo Telegraph’ is doing an invaluable service to the people of Sri Lanka. It is also my opinion that some columnists in the mainstream media fight shy of contributing to ‘Colombo Telegraph’ fearing the opening of a ‘can of worms’ in the ‘comments’ section!

Yours faithfully,

Amrit Muttukumaru

(Public Interest Activist)

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Latest comments

  • 12
    0

    HNB’s is setting a bad precedence as this will send a phobia across the board to every bank client in the Island. Unlike in the past, any Bank nowadays has a solid customer base, some clients deal with more than one Bank (me for example), fortunately I am not a client of HNB nor will I ever be. Mal-practices in Banks & Financial Institutions are so common these days, and it is so contagious, regardless of what FITCH Rating a Bank is given, if some wrong-doing happens to a client the concerned Bank will easily escape by saying it is an Insider-Trade larceny & so forth, leaving the client in limbo like in the case of Vinothini. Anyhow HNB’s reputation is at stake now.

    • 1
      5

      Soo…. Amrit the pot is calling the kettles black!!!

  • 17
    2

    I fully agree with Amrit. The Daily FT is indeed very disappointing in the manner it engages in selective reporting. I have never seen or read any type of investigative journalism here that concerns corporate malpractice. Daily FT indulges in shielding them instead. The editor ignores any letter from readers who record their bad experiences. Ignoring the fact that publishing such letters can forewarn other consumers/customers. The standards of journalism in the mainstream media is indeed deplorable and pathetic. Shame on you Mr. Cassim!

    • 2
      1

      All media institutions are dependent on corporates for advertising revenue. This is applicable to both print and electronic media.

      Nisthar will have to close down the paper if he criticizes the big corporates in his newspaper.

      We all know that he has a sweet spot for certain corporates and certain big businessmen !!

  • 14
    1

    Central bank supervision division is the cause.of problems. They are supposed to monitor the activities of the bank and they never. They should be taken to courts for criminal negligence.
    This is not just now From the days shabra finance of the notorious TNA MP Saravanabhavan, Mercantile Credit of NU Jayawardena. Central ba k supervision division has been sleeping. I know how callously they do not supervise. I have several occasions on small amounts fight it out with the banks one tided aided by.Financial ombudsman
    FT must be worried about their advertising revenue. Any article against any big companies and multinational companies.will not be accommodated in print and electronic.media. only web media can

  • 9
    0

    I do no think any.central bank ever took seriously the supervision and none of them including deputy governors can be ever called respected. They have been downright hypocrites

  • 1
    6

    HSBC is not a State Bank. so, the HSBC is following the normal Gaughing and ripping practice of customers. GOSL should prohibit Non-state banks giving mortgages and buying Jewellery from People. Those should be limited only to State banks of which is the objective is not to rip the customer. Horapalana govt gave away everything to the private sector and they rip the poor customer. That should not happen in Sri Lanka.

  • 1
    2

    Well,…..I mean….can’t really blame the admins of the previous GoSL alternate capitalist network of the UNP Government, can we? People did vote them in 4 years ago. Country had some inkling what it was in for (the greater Indian merger). Didn’t work – country plummeted in all kinds of monetary disaster. Country perceptions changed in 2 years. Time to move on. The lesson : Western capitalism Does Not work for Sri Lanka. Time for the Alternate Capitalistic cum Socialist system. Comment to be removed by moderator.

  • 3
    12

    Amrit is allergic to bankers other than Cargills

    • 2
      9

      Amrit is also allergic to Rotarians !!

  • 2
    11

    Colombo Telegraph is voice of the viscous Mutthukumaru.

  • 3
    11

    Editor you are doing a great job on freedom and justice. Don’t get people like Amrit To write for you. He is regarded as a loose cannon. He is not taken seriously. He is a joke. When people see him he runs. Why are you giving him publicity to attack another paper? The country cannot move on if fossils like Amrit are allowed to voice their opinion like this. Governances of Banks – leave it to their Shareholders and the regulators to decide . They are the right people to manage. He has a history. Meanwhile you do what you are good at, protecting freedom. Don’t loose your niche. Johanthan Alles not writing to him or Nisthar Cassim not responding is not the priority for CT. Let him keep the business despots entertained elsewhere. Come on!

    • 11
      0

      Robert

      1) ’Shooting the messenger’ with lies and deception demonstrates the utter DESPERATION of your ‘patrons’.

      2) After stating (i) I am “not taken seriously” (ii) I am a “joke”, you PLEAD with CT not to publish me. Don’t you see a disconnect here? If I am all what you state, why BOTHER about me being published?

      3) Your ‘patrons’ after getting ‘Wijeya Newspapers Limited’(WNL) the publishers of inter alia ‘Daily FT’, ‘Daily Mirror’ and ‘The Sunday Times’ not to publish me, are now training their guns on CT. It was not difficult to get WNL owner Ranjit Wijewardene to do so after I had tellingly EXPOSED inter alia WNL misdemeanors which include the ‘Daily Mirror’ FALSELY claiming that an almost full page article was ‘Courtesy’ of the ‘London Times’. This is merely the tip of the iceberg!

      4) Ranjit Wijewardene and WNL’s DOMINANT influence in the print media scene of this country is such that there was no OUTRAGE from the competitive media when his son Ruwan Wijewardene was appointed Minister of Mass Media with access to competitive information!

      5) My ‘Open Letter’ to Editor, ‘Daily FT’ is on its SELECTIVE approach to alleged corporate and professional misdemeanor. The focus is on glaring examples related to commercial banks and CBSL ‘Bank Supervision’.

      6) Issues concerning HNB overlooked by ‘Daily FT’ and HNB hierarchy are the articles published in CT (i) “Exposé: Hatton National Bank Robs Customers And Auctions Their Properties” (ii) “Governor Indrajit’s Stewardship – Hiding Forensic Audits & Other Issues” which includes the alleged ‘HNB Tax Evasion’.

      7) ‘Daily FT’ has also overlooked CBSL ‘Bank Supervision Department’ and Governor Coomaraswamy being in “deep slumber” in relation to issues concerning (i) NDB Bank (ii) Sampath Bank.

      8) I look forward to CBSL Governor Coomaraswamy and ‘Daily FT’ editor, Cassim responding to my question “Is there anything in common between the alleged ‘HNB Tax Evasion’ and the alleged NDB misdemeanor?”

      9) After giving a bouquet to CT Editor by stating “you are doing a great job on freedom and justice” you have the TEMERITY to state that Jonathan Alles or Nisthar Cassim not responding is “not the priority for CT”!!

      Amrit Muttukumaru

  • 3
    0

    Those who involved what happends if the blood bank do to them, the loan system is like lending the umbreela on summer season and asking on the rainy season or supporting r salt bussiness on the rainy system

  • 2
    9

    Amrit confirms he is a P.I.A

  • 18
    0

    In the Daily FT Dinesh Weerakody is described as a”thought leader’.

    Dinesh Weerakody is a director of many public companies, which obviously creates a conflict of interest.

    He is a director of the shady Access Group and also Galle Face Hotel . He is also chairman of commercial bank and HNB.He was also an adviser to the Tourism Ministry when his father in law John Amaratunga was minister . ( as a thought leader he can have thoughts on any subject)The Galle Face hotel is in tourism and he is adviser to the Tourism ministry !

    Both Galle Face Hotel and Access group have accounts at Commercial bank and HNB.

    As a close collaborator of Ranil wickramasinghe , Dinesh was in a position to influence many decisions in favour of these companies.

    He must be a thought leader because all his thoughts seem to benefit him !

    As to Nisthar Cassim, like RW in the UNP , seems to have permanent position at FT. When the FT says they are analysing a company, what they mean is they simply reproduce press releases from the company of reproduce the company Annual Report.

    But as Sri Lankan readers are simple minded they think this is deep analysis ! Has the FT ever predicted a market down turn or a company collapse ?

    They also don’t seem to have any serious media ethics and simply portray their columnists as “thought leaders” or ” analyst” thereby misleading the public.

    I wish they produce Mr. Cassims business/economic credentials.

  • 3
    0

    Amrit is an NGO wallah and that is very well known. To me, it appears, that his lament
    is over what he writes not being accepted for publication. Yet, I respect is unreserved
    right to express his point of view. In this I would agree with him almost entirely.

    The FT edited by Mr N. Cassim is part of an elitist, UNP slanted publication where
    the highest bidder (to Mr Cassim) wins space. He is easily the most well travelled
    man in Sri Lanka with at least two trips every two weeks.

    The corporate babus have been taken for a jolly good ride. Just check how much
    the paper sells. Its only in THREE digits. Some of those who will not get criticised
    include Dhammika Perera, Harry Jayawardena and Emirates airlines. Show one
    report and I will bow my head.

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