13 December, 2017

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Ranil At Bay: Not My Business If Ravi Also Ensured Massive Profits For Aloysius

By Rajiva Wijesinha

Prof. Rajiva Wijesinha

[Part 4 of this series was published on December 5, 2017]

The Prime Minister also dodges the Supplementary Questions

Question Number 27 is as follows-

“There is evidence before this Commission of Inquiry which suggests that, on 28th March 2016 and 30th March 2016, the then Hon. Minister of Finance met senior officers of the Bank of Ceylon, the People’s Bank and the National Savings Bank and instructed that these three Banks submit Bids at specified Rates at the Treasury Bond Auctions to be held on 29th March 2016 and 31st March 2016. The evidence also suggests that, at these two meetings, the then Hon. Minister of Finance indicated to the officers of these Banks that, the CBSL would not accept Bids at Rates which were higher than the Rates specified by him and that, accordingly, the three Banks submitted Bids at the specified Rates. However, the evidence suggests that, in fact, when these two Treasury Bond Auctions were held, the CBSL had accepted Bids at Rates which were considerably higher than the Rates at which these Banks had placed Bids based on the instructions given by the then Hon. Minister of Finance.

Were you aware, in March or April 2016, of the aforesaid meetings and events?”

My reply is as follows-

I am unaware of the meetings referred to in paragraph 27. I suspect Ravi decided to get in on the act, having got an apartment courtesy of Mr Aloysius and seeing nothing wrong with doing on a large scale what had been done under our aegis the previous year. Since we seemed to have got away with it, having suppressed the earlier COPE report and then keeping Mr Mahendran in office, I can see the temptation. Leave alone what we were responsible for, my spirited defence of Mr Mahendran must have tempted Ravi and his cronies, and there was nothing I could do when I found out what had happened since I could not afford to find fault with something I had happily countenanced the previous year.

And we would have got away with it if the Auditor General had not been determined to do what he thinks is his job, and if Handunetti had not let us down even though I thought he could be squared which is why we put him in charge of COPE. And by the time we knew what was happening, and put Sujeewa on for damage control, things had gone too far.

Question numbers [7], [27] and [30] are as follows-

“[7] Please see Cabinet Sub-Committee on Economic Affairs Meeting Minutes of 24.02.2015 & 03.03.2015.

(a) In terms of RDA Projects the decision was that all road projects to be prioritized and implemented with available funds? A list to be prepared and finalised next week. (Vide Minutes of Meeting 24.02.2015).

Therefore, having regard to the above there was no urgent funding requirement which was discussed or agreed upon?”

“[27] In response to question No.12, you have stated that it is incorrect to state that funds for payment of contractors for roadworks was not required to be raised in February or March 2015. However, documents in evidence before this Commission, including the relevant monthly cash flows and the minutes of the meeting of the Cabinet Sub Committee on Economic Management in February 2015 indicate that there was no such requirement. The said Cabinet Sub Committee has in fact decided that these payments should be met with available funds. So, on what basis do you substantiate your position?”

“[30] The briefing note you have produced at X1 does not refer to an urgent funding requirement of Rs.15 billion for payment of contractors for roadworks nor the breakfast meeting held on 26.02.2015. It only refers to the Rs.13.5 billion which was already in the cash flow for the week ending 02.03.2015. In this background, can you explain why you have in your response to question No.12 and in your Statement in Parliament on 17.03.2015 linked the Rs.15 billion for payment of contractors for roadworks and the breakfast meeting held on 26.02.2015 with the funds raised via the treasury bond auction of 27.02.2015?”

My reply is as follows-

Although at the meeting of the Cabinet Sub Committee on Economic Affairs held on 24th February 2015 it is recorded that “All road projects to be prioritized and implemented with available funds”, I was subsequently informed by the Minister of Highways that only about Rupees One Billion was in fact available to make payments for these projects. Though this is not on record and you might think it strange that he should have discovered this so conveniently for the bond issue, I am confident that he too acted in good faith.

I requested the concerned Ministers and officials of the Treasury and CBSL to give priority to sorting out how the funds could be obtained.

Therefore when the meeting of 26th February 2015 was held they had decided that Rs. 15 Billion was urgently required.

I have then included references to meetings of my Sub Committee held on 3rd and 10th March to further confuse the issue, since obviously what we discussed then could not have been a reason for raising so much in February. And I rather blundered by declaring in Parliament, notwithstanding all this rubbish about roads, that the money Mahendran raised was ‘paid to the Treasury to fund Divisional Level Development Projects’. And to further confuse matters I am now citing a letter of 13th February sent by the Water Supply and Drainage Board and I know you will not ask me why the Treasury did not take that also into account in working out funding requirements. But the bottom line is that Malik and Kabir knew best what the party and thus the country needed, and due procedures could not be followed since this seemed the best way of getting the needed funds. I did not myself understand that, in addition to meeting our requirements through profits on the auction, Mr Aloysius should make so much more, but I suppose that turned out useful the next year, and ensured that we got some footnotes into the COPE report, even though no one takes them seriously.

Question number [11] is as follows-

“[11] Were you aware that Finance Minister Mr. Ravi Karunanayaka and his family were occupying and living a penthouse apartment at Monarch residencies which was paid for by Arjun Aloysius?

(a) This issue was brought up in Parliament by Mr. Mahindanada Aluthgamage, MP who made a statement in this regard?

(b) Do you acknowledge any wrong doing (the Minister of Finance being the Issuer of Government Securities and Arjuna Aloysius being the owner of a Primary Dealer Company trading in Government Securities) on the part of the minister in this regard?

(c) What action did you take in this regard?”

My reply to questions 11 (a) and (c) is as follows:

I was aware that Mr. Ravi Karunanayake, MP was occupying an apartment at Monarch Residences, as he had informed me that he had shifted pending renovations to his residence.

It is correct that allegations were made by Mr. Mahindananda Aluthgamage, MP.

Mr. Ravi Karunanayake, MP countered by denial and there was no material furnished to substantiate the allegation at that point of time.

However, I inquired from Mr. Ravi Karunanayake, MP whether there was any truth in the allegation made that he was occupying an apartment at Monarch Residences which was paid for by Mr. Aloysius. He informed me that the apartment he was occupying was not paid for by Mr. Aloysius. Given the confidence I had and continue to have in him, I did not think it proper to question him further.

My reply to questions 11 (b) is as follows:

I am not privy to all the evidence led in this regard. This matter is now pending before the Commission. Therefore, it would not be appropriate for me to express an opinion in this regard. I have no moral sense any more since I could not do so well in politics as I have done had I thought such dealings wrongdoings, so I think it best to plead ignorance even though what was revealed was publicized widely and I did not think I could save him from having to resign. But knowing how to reward loyalty, I have given him a lucrative position, and I will bring him back as soon as possible.

Question number [16] is as follows-

“[16] Did you or the United National Party or any member of your party receive any donation or contributions from Arjun Aloysius or any Company of the Perpetual Group of Companies or from Free Lanka Trading Company or W.M. Mendis and Company in the years 2014,2015 & 2016 directly or indirectly?”

My reply is as follows –

Neither I nor the Party received any donations or contributions from Arjun Aloysius or any other entity mentioned therein.

I am unaware whether any other individuals received donations or contributions from the said Aloysius or the specified entities. If debts the party had were met direct by Mr Aloysius, that is nothing to do with me, my hands are clean.

Question number [21] is as follows-

“[21] There is undisputed evidence before the Commission, including that of several witnesses from Perpetual Treasuries Ltd., that Mr. Aloysius continued to run the business activities of this company throughout the tenure of Mr. Mahendran’s Governorship. In this context –

(a) Do you consider the assurance given to you Mr. Mahendran as having been false?

(b) What action would you recommend against misleading and false statements made to the Prime Minister of the country?”

My reply is as follows-

I believed that Mr Mahendran acted in good faith so I will avoid the question of fact as to whether what he said was false.

I am not privy to the evidence led before the Commission, and am unable to comment thereon and I will continue to justify my continuing to use Mr Mahendran’s services, even though everyone else knows exactly what he did wrong.

The Commission will have to take and / or recommend action according to the evidence placed before it, and the conclusions it reaches thereon and I will say nothing since I still need his services as well as those of others against whom there has been damning evidence.

Question number [25] is as follows-

“[25] In response to questions Nos. 10 and 11, you have stated that you expected Mr. Mahendran to follow due procedure to comply with your direction to issue treasury bonds via auctions. In this context –

(a) In your opinion, particularly as lawyer yourself, what should have been that ‘due procedure’?

(b) Shouldn’t that ‘due procedure’ have included approval of the Monetary Board and a considered analysis backed by data and discussion with all relevant stakeholders?

(c) As you were aware of the conflict of interest that Mr. Arjuna Mahendran had, did you not consider it prudent to verify and satisfy yourself that the ‘due procedure’ has been followed?

(d) In light of the procedure that was adopted by the present Monetary Board in moving to a new system of issuing treasury bonds, do you not consider the abrupt stopping of Direct Placements by Mr. Arjuna Mahendran to have been irresponsible and reckless, to say the least?”

My reply is as follows-

25 (a) and (b): As stated previously, my expectation was that the bonds should be raised mainly through public auctions and I refuse to comment on his taking ten times the amount advertised which obviously violates all principles of transparency, hiding behind my instructions. I may not have quite understood what I was unleashing on the country when I issued these instructions, but to admit the blunder now would do more damage to me than I can put up with, and I am essential if this country is not to go back to the low inflation and interest rates which obtained under the last government.

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Latest comments

  • 0
    0

    Prof Rajiva wijesinghe: what Is the possibility that a Veteran politician with 40 years of experience while boasting about his experience, was negligent that his subordinates and people around him were just vultures and hawks., forgot that he was a politician instead, he though he was some kind of professor and a expert in something,. So, he screwed up the whole thing. WE can not justify that Ranil had the intention to steal form him. but, definitely he needed money pay the debts of the party. He underestimated Galle On Ravi who had already charged with Money Laundering and brought Raj Rajarathnam’s LTTE money inside the country. ( I heard he had said that money was his salary). Penthouse RAVI knew the plan and he set up Bond Scam Ranil. Foolish ‘Ranil was caught unknowingly and simply he was DUMBED.

    • 3
      0

      Rajiva,

      Pal ……… if you have a quarrel with your cousin …….. just jump over the fence, walk up to his door …………… and punch him out ………. you should have enough breeding not to drag your private quarrels in to the public.

      You have 0.0 credibility ………….. if this is about the country – and not private – you would have taken the same stellar efforts to expose corruption in the previous government in which you were a ever willing partner ……..

      Your buddy Dayan is now trying to spin because of all the white-elephants in Hambanthota ……….. that we are at the mercy of global powers/bogeymen …………..

      But you Lankan shining paragons of virtue fail to say that if Mahinda didn’t build all the cockamamie crap without any rhyme or reason in his village to impress the rural mentally-feeble, we wouldn’t be in this situation today! You buggers nicely leave it out ……….. as if it never happened. ………….Who are you trying to fool?

      Do you ever wonder why, places like Singapore, Vietnam, Malaysia ………….. don’t get entrapped in other “powers” “global-schemes?” …………And why SL does?

      Let me say it again ………… the greatest enemies of Sri Lanka are not China, India, USA, UK ……….. or any other goddamn cockatoo you guys always drag in ………….. but our own Singhalese leaders! They are the ones who put us in this situation to be held prisoner to the schemes of global-powers.

      The leaders of the other ethnicities haven’t had their chance yet, to contribute their fair share.

      BTW ……….. get rid of that stupid accent ………..your bio says you went to Oxford; I suppose the accent is a part and parcel of the experience ………… I know an old guy who went to Cambridge …… came back with an accent ………….. if one didn’t see him and only just heard the voice one would have thought Lord Mountbatten was in town ….. Well, that’s what 4 years of Cambridge did to him. ………….if you saw him you got the shock of your life ……… A dark dude; in a beauty contest with Beelzebub ……… he would have ended second best ………Such is life. …………Well, if it’s any consolation you don’t look so bad.

      Ah! every day one wakes up and marvel at the multifaceted splendour of the world.

  • 1
    0

    the whole episode demonstrates a complete lack of basic morality
    but then what can you expect from our politicians
    it is a pity that so called mr clean has also jumped the bandwagon
    arjun aloy will probably donate a tidy sum to unp coffers just before the elections
    and the report of this commission will go the way of all previous ones

  • 2
    0

    Dear Spin DR Rajeewa,

    When will be the last part of this series.
    I f you think there is a fraud in the Bond issuance why not go to courts rather than giving small doses every week.

  • 1
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    “Ranil At Bay: Not My Business If Ravi Also Ensured Massive Profits For Aloysius”

    Rajiva
    We, the Lankan silent majority feel that there seems to be something untoward as far as the bond issue is concerned. You have serialised about this in six parts – possibly more to come. Surely you know that we are burdened with several other cases. Why are you trying to project the bond thingy as if it is the one and only one?

  • 0
    1

    Bond matter is hot… hot………… lets get over with it while the iron is hot.
    other matters have lot of dig in to do.

  • 0
    0

    How can we get rid of corruption when even for that, people say it is that one’s fault, that is why all the troubles. Namel Fernando does not want to accept even if Raji wijesinghe ws in the same camp, pardoned accused are welcome in order to solve court cases or in this a mega-fraud case. On the other hand, bomd Scam Ranil the MR CLEAN promised that he would establish FCISD and would catch all the thieves. All Avamangala, Rajitha, GALLE ON RAVI, promsied they would bring back all the looted wealth and would pay the budget deficit. Why Ranil was fradulent in that too. Ranil is engaging in corruption everyday the Media is behind in the game. Otherwise, who gave hom money to give pooja to Sangha. Is it public money he is just using without “prejudiced”.

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