Colombo Telegraph

Sirisena’s Bond Commission Is A White Elephant

The much hyped Special Presidential Commission appointed by Maithripala Sirisena last month to investigate the bond scam at the Central Bank is a Yahapalanaya white elephant sans necessary powers.

Maithripala Sirisena

The three member high level committee comprising of Supreme Court Judges Kankani Tantri Chitrasiri, Prasanna Sujeewa Jayawardena and retired deputy Auditor General Velupillai Kandasamy, has only been tasked to ‘inquire’ into the bond scam, and does not possess the powers to take action against the wrong doers.

The Commission will only be a commission tasked with ‘fact finding’ and none of the evidence submitted to the commission can be used in a court of law.

As per the term of reference of the commission, the commission has been only tasked to probe irregularities and procedures of the bond transaction.

The main objective of the commission is to “investigate and inquire into the management, administration and conduct of affairs of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL)” as well as to inquire whether there was any misuse or abuse of power, influence, interference, fraud, malpractices, nepotism or any act of omission connected with corrupt activity at the bank.

However the commission does not have the power to take action and any person who testifies before the Commission of Inquiry will enjoy immunity and cannot be prosecuted in courts, including if anyone admitted to any wrong doing, no action can be taken against that person by the commission.

The commission has been tasked to only submit a report detailing its findings to the President following the conclusion of the inquiry.

“Basically, the commission has only been appointed to ‘inquire’ into the Bond Scam, which the Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE) has already done, so it does not make sense why another committee is required to do the same. This is nothing but a waste of time and resources,” a political analyst pointed out.

He highlighted that the government was trying to unnecessarily ‘buy time’ instead of taking action against the culprits when the Auditor General himself has clearly ruled that ex-Governor Arjuna Mahendran was directly involved in the scam which cost the country at least Rs. 1.6 billion.

“What is the point of such a commission if the evidence gathered from this exercise is not admissible in court,” he inquired.

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