By Malinda Seneviratne –
The Colombo District Court has issued an enjoining order preventing the publication or circulation of the COPE sub-committee report on the Central Bank bond issue until July 23. This order is sequent to a petition filed by Sujeewa Senasinghe (UNP).
We can still talk of ‘bonds’. There’s still a word called ‘cope’. There are no enjoining orders from the courts preventing us from writing about such things. For now.
There are bonds between man (women too) and the earth, Chief Seattle tells us. Bonds between men and men. There is a bond between President Maithripala Sirisena and Ranil Wickremesinghe. The former is President thanks to the latter and the latter the Prime Minister thanks to the former. ‘Multi-bond’ one might say.
We can’t publish or circulate, but can talk about the circumstances regarding bonds and how to cope with them. So here goes.
Sirisena did not and cannot say that dissolving Parliament had anything to do with some report on a bond-issue compiled by or to be compiled by the Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE).
But there’s something Sirisena DID say. He said ‘I asked the Prime Minister to ask Central Bank Governor Arjuna Mahendran to resign.’ Now why should Sirisena want Mahendran to resign if Mahendran has done no wrong (directly, as the all-UNP team appointed by the UNP leader to investigate the bond issue concluded) or indirectly (as is usually the case in ‘insider trading’)? Did Sirisena peek into the COPE report? Did Sirisena have some ‘inside’ information? Was he trying to save himself or his bond-brother Ranil from possible embarrassment? Indeed is it possible embarrassment that prompted Senasinghe to seek ‘relief’ from the Colombo District Court?
If Sirisena did ask Ranil to ask Mahendran to resign, then we have to ask ‘what happened thereafter?’ Well, Sirisena didn’t tell us when he made this request. What we do know is that Mahendran did not resign and hasn’t made any statement on the matter. Even is Sirisena had made such a request we don’t know if Ranil conveyed it to Mahendran. Even if he had done so, it is clear that Mahendran didn’t want to budge.
What did Mahendran do, though? He did something on July 15, 2015 and we’ll come to that. On July 9, he was all smiles with the President, we know now. On that day President Sirisena AND Prime Minister Wickremesinghe visited the CBSL and were warmly received Mahendran, members of the Monetary Board and the senior management of CBSL. A new silver coin minted for the 150th Birth Anniversary of Srimath Anagarika Dharmapala was presented as a memento in mark the President’s visit to the Bank.
It was five days later, i.e. on the 14th, that Sirisena told the media that he had asked Ranil to obtain Mahendran’s resignation. One day later, the CBSL website posts a picture of the President with the Governor and releases the same picture along with a caption to the press. Why did the CBSL wait five days to release this, especially since the CB website is relatively fast on posting information?
Was Mahendran saying, one wonders, ‘Hey Mr President, if you wanted me to resign you could have told me on the 9th noh!’ Or is he saying ‘Ranil never passed me your message!’ Is he saying, one wonders, ‘Mr President, you were with the Prime Minister when the two of you met me on the 9th, but there was no talk of me resigning!’ He might be telling us ‘Look at the picture, folks, we are all smiles, don’t you think I would be pretty down in the mouth if I had been told to resign?’
The July 15th post in the CBSL website, therefore tells a lot and the Colombo District Court cannot do anything to kill THAT story.