President Maithripala Sirisena, who purposely neglected implementing the key recommendations by the Treasury Bonds Commission, has informed the members of his purported Cabinet that he would release the full report of the Commission soon.
Commenting on Sirisena’s move, former Central Bank Governor and a de facto financial advisor to former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, Ajith Nivard Cabraal said, “If that happens, many MPs who are today performing before the media will not be able to show their faces.” However, Cabraal himself is accused of many financial frauds during his tenure as the Central Bank government including Sri Lanka’s controversial investments in Greek bonds.
Sirisena, according to sources, is of the strong view that the content of the report will exert pressure on ousted Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe to step down from the UNP leadership. The report also refers to the conduct of several UNP Parliamentarians including former Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake.
Sirisena is now attempting to release full report without even fulfilling the main recommendations of the bond commission. The report said, “similar incidents as revealed in the Commission Report had happened even in 2008. The Commission recommends that the Central Bank of Sri Lanka should first conduct a forensic audit with regard to the alleged fraud and corrupt practices from 2008 onwards, and based on such findings, legal actions should be taken.”
Despite these recommendations, Sirisena did not take any meaningful step to probe into similar questionable transactions that took place between 2008 and 2015, under the Rajapaksa administration.
“We have no objections about releasing commission reports. We introduced the Right to Information (RTI) and we believe that the public has a right to know the content of these reports. However, by releasing the report now, President Sirisena is trying to gain petty political mileage. It shows nothing but Sirisena’s political opportunism,” a senior UNP Parliamentarian and a former Cabinet Minister told Colombo Telegraph responding to the President’s move.
The Central Bank has frozen all bank accounts belonging to Perpetual Treasuries and has prevented the management of the company from moving its money. Sirisena-Wickemesinghe government previously said as the bank accounts had been frozen, it could recover any financial loss caused by Perpetual Treasuries through the bond deal.
When asked whether the Commission report would have names of 118 MPs who received money for Perpetual Treasuries owner Arjuna Aloysius as predicted by UPFA lawmakers, the Parliamentarian said it was a fabricated story.
“It was Dayasiri Jayasekera who stated this first when it was revealed that he received from Arjuna Aloysius. He diverted the public attention saying that 118 MPs have requested money from Aloysius. I am 100% confirmed that the commission report will not have names of 118 MPs, but we need to see how it refers to Dayasiri Jayasekera’s conduct,” the MP added.