9 December, 2019

Blog

Treasury Bonds Investigation: PM Ranil Wickremesinghe’s Full Speech Today

I am a firm believer that Parliament, the supreme legislature, should be kept informed of matters of public importance. It is even more essential on matters of financial significance. Article 148 of the Constitution stipulates that the “Parliament shall have full control over public finance.”

Ranil Wickremesinghe

Ranil Wickremesinghe

Yet, the Honorable Members of this house are aware they have been kept in the dark on such matters in the past. We have raised questions and received no answers. We have exposed irregularities on the floor of this house. The only response we received was ridicule and insults. My silence should not be misconstrued. It was by no means a cowardly attempt to be deaf, dumb or blind to issues. Nor was it in the belief that remaining quiet would allow such issues to be forgotten.  To the contrary, it was only because I felt my first statement with regard to the so-called controversy over Treasury Bonds should be made to this House.

Let me begin with the background of events. The Ministry of Highways of the Mahinda Rajapaksa administration made commitments and signed contracts totaling over Rs 100 Billion, without any monetary allocation. Funds were needed urgently to meet these payments.  During a meeting on February 26 attended by Minister of Finance, Minister of Highways, Secretary, Ministry of Finance, the Governor Central Bank and the Deputy Governor, it was decided that Rs. 15 Billion would be required urgently. It was decided to raise a part of these monies through an auction of Treasury Bonds.  By then, the Central Bank had already advertised the issue of Rs. 1 Billion Treasury Bonds. I insisted on a public auction because private placements have led to corruption and lack of transparency. Previously, parcels of Government bonds were handed out to selected individuals on a favored basis through a system of private placement. It took place outside the normal auctions of Government bonds.

Private placements were usually as large as ten times bigger than the amount of Government bonds sold through the auctions.  This led to an unhealthy link between some of the officers of the Central Bank’s Public Debt Department, Primary Dealers and large Corporations who benefited from such private placements. This practice only enriched a handful of cronies of the previous Government.

Records confirm that private placements had become a norm rather than an exception. In just one instance in 2013, Rs 16 billion worth of 5 year bonds were sold through auction at a yield of 10.9% and thereafter Rs 76 billion of the same bond were sold through private placements at a HIGHER yield of 11.42%. Who stood to benefit from such acts? The answer is obvious. As a result of such anti-competitive practices the primary dealers had lost sight of their principal role in making for a transparent, liquid and competitive bond market. They were asking the Central Bank to dictate to them at what interest rate they should bid at the bond auctions. Such a practice has never been a norm and is unheard of in transparent auctions anywhere in the world.
At this particular auction, where ill informed and intentioned criticism has been leveled, there were 36 bids from various Primary Dealers amounting to just over Rs. 20 Billion.

When the Governor of the Central Bank was informed that over Rs.20 Billion bids have been received, he instructed the Public Debt Tender Board to select bids up to Rs.10 Billion. He did so in the presence of two Deputy Governors. The claim that the Governor interfered with the work of the Tender Board is not true. Thereafter the Tender Board submitted their recommendations, which were approved by the Governor without any changes. These monies that were raised were paid to the Treasury to fund the Divisional level Development Projects that was the subject of discussion in the House recently. Subsequent to this bond issue allegation of insider trading were made. The name of the Governor was mentioned in these allegations and aspersions cast.

Therefore, I appointed a Committee of three to look into matters related to the 30-year bond issued on February 27.  The committee comprises of:

  1. GAMINI PITIPANA  – Attorney at Law with 27 years of experience in the bar. He has taken part in the administration of several companies with foreign collaboration
  2. MAHESH KALUGAMPITIYA – Attorney-at-Law with 23 years of experience in the legal profession as a criminal lawyer
  3. CHANDIMAL MENDIS – Attorney-at-Law with 18 years of experience in the bar.  He assisted the then Finance Minister K N Choksy regarding the Parliamentary Consultative Meetings.

Each of them has many years of practice and their credibility can be checked with the Sri Lanka Bar Association. I have selected lawyers who will not compromise their principles and not be got at. They also are respected in the community. The Committee has already met and started the investigation process. It is a matter of deep regret that they have become the targets of vituperative criticism. That vested interests are at work in this vain exercise to discredit the Government is all too clear.

An issue has been raised that they are UNP lawyers. Many lawyers started supporting the UNP last year.  One of those who made allegations that these lawyers are UNP is Shiral Lakthilaka. That a person who holds a responsible position has chosen it fit to engage in a campaign of vilification against the Government casts serious doubts over the motives behind their sinister campaign. Not surprisingly, the same Mr. Lakthilaka spent time in remand prison not so long ago for damaging public property worth five million rupees.  He was expelled from the UNP. A partner in this campaign is Susil Kindelpitiya who was remanded on a complaint by a lady that he brandished a revolver at her. She later rescinded that complaint. It is such persons whose bona fides are in question who are casting aspersions on the members of the Committee.

The investigations that are being carried out are not limited to this issue. It goes back to all transactions of public auctions and private placements from 2012 onwards.  This committee has the option to call upon and consult other experts as they see fit. I expect startling revelations to surface because of the unhealthy practices that prevailed.

Since Monday last week, Arjuna Mahendran has been on leave and he informed me that he would keep away from work until the investigations are completed. He is making way for a fair and independent inquiry into the matter. This is in stark contrast to the practices adopted by those who held the same position before. If however the Central Bank Governor is required to sign documents, I will consult the Attorney General before deciding on the matter.

This is the first time in many years that the Government has responded to an allegation, started an inquiry and made a statement in Parliament. For almost a decade the allegations of malpractices in financial market has been stalled through surreptitious means. Instead of being praised for what we did, we are being attacked.

There are a number of allegations of violations of the Colombo Stock Exchange market rules and Securities and Exchange Commission regulations. The minor ones were compounded. 13 large cases were abandoned purportedly on the lack of evidence. They were not investigated or were settled when it should have been probed further. I would like this to be recorded in the Hansard. I have requested the Securities and Exchange Commission to go into these cases.  If necessary, I will bring legislation to permit such inquiry. I am also seeking for the appointment of a Parliamentary Select Committee to inquire into these transactions. Since some of the issues raised are under consideration by the Committee, I prefer to give an answer elaborate after the report is submitted. We plan to table this report in Parliament.

We have created a free and fair climate for the business community. They are free from fear and intimidation. This applies to the media in this country too. There are no threats, intimidation or trips in white vans. It is high time they turn the searchlight into areas that have remained a virtual “no go zone” in the past. Take for example the banking sector. Take the name of Nimal Perera at Pan Asia or Ranee Jayamaha of Hatton National Bank. Who are they and how did they benefit from certain political personalities of the previous administration? How can Mr. Perera head a Bank given the large number of surveillance referrals made to the Colombo Stock Exchange?

The National Savings Bank purchased 13 per cent of The Finance Company at fifty rupees per share. That is twenty rupees above market value. The mastermind behind this was Ajith Devasurendera and Dinal Wijemanne. Today, The Finance Company has recorded accumulated net loses of Rs 16 billion.

Former Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake’s private Bank records were forcibly released by the then Management of the National Development Bank (NDB) against all norms relating to confidentiality of client data. It is for those in the banking industry to turn the searchlight inwards. They are not casinos or gambling dens. There are time tested traditions and conventions. Similarly, in the business sector a closer examination of some of the players becomes inevitable. Take for example Dilith Jayaweera. His roles in the Colombo Land and Development Company and the Reef Comber have to be probed by the authorities. Another such instance is Scott Newman and Kosala Heengama. Similar their role in Environment Resources Investments require very close scrutiny. 
Take the case of John Keells – the Government’s decision to cancel the casino licenses has resulted in shareholders dumping their shares.  This is the only way to show their protest against questionable choices by the management.

Sri Lankan Airlines.  The Cabinet approved by decision 11/1459/545/009 of 4 August 2011 the investment of 520 Million US Dollars of equity in to Sri Lankan Airlines and Mihin Lanka over a five year period. US Dollars 230 million was required for re-fleeting.  The other requirements being

- Repayment of bank overdrafts/loans – US Dollars 52 million
- Repayment of outstanding creditors – CPC US Dollars 28 million and others US Dollars 15 million
- Funding of working capital (maintain adequate cash reserves) US Dollars 94 million
- Investment in infrastructure/fixed assets – US Dollars 81 million (includes investment required in Mattala and Ratmalana airports to provide ground handling services)
Mihin Lanka: – Re-fleeting – US Dollars 10 million
- Funding of working capital (maintain adequate cash reserves – US Dollars 5.5 million)
- Repayment of previous outstanding creditors US Dollars 4.5 million


The airline has received a total of 375 Million US Dollars.  Out of this, 50 million Dollars was spent for re-fleeting and the balance was utilized to cover the losses. As a result, Sri Lankan Airlines does not own a single aircraft. Thus, very clearly, the decision by the Cabinet of Ministers was not followed. Nor were matters reported back to them. These monies were not utilized for the items referred to above.  We do not even own a single aircraft.  The airline requires 125 million US Dollars to settle Ceylon Petroleum Corporation dues as well as its loan from the Bank of Ceylon.

Some Members of Parliament went to the Commission of Bribery and Corruption and handed over their complaint against Arjuna Mahendran.  I would like to ask whether you would like to do the same with Sri Lankan Airlines?

How much was spent for the country’s development and how much went to fatten the purses of those corrupt is slowly but surely unfolding. Sooner than later, the people of this country will realize how their monies have been squandered. This sorry state of affairs came about against much touted claims of prosperity. The Central Bank had made losses for the past three years though self-acclaimed financial wizards, through devious campaigns, spoke of growth and gains. Millions of dollars were spent, without express approval by the Cabinet Ministers, on a string of public relations companies in an extravaganza of promoting Sri Lanka. Even chauffeurs of these companies received fat payments. This was whilst the Sri Lanka diplomatic missions were packed with political favorite’s and relatives of former Government leaders. The missions were only promoting those who were serving there. Enormous amounts of money were lost. There were credible allegations that the Central Bank was manipulating, or to say it more clearly, cooking up economic data. That such acts did harm to the country’s economy is one thing. Even worse, they plundered the taxpayer’s money for their own gains. I want to assure this house that we will leave no stone unturned in bringing the culprits to book.

As a result of past misdeeds, the Central Bank has now been forced to embark on the task of re-building their credibility and standing as the country’s most credible financial institution. This is no easy task, since the spin masters have turned the institution into a wasteland. They left behind a legacy of mismanagement and misrule. They have been adopting a system of private placements of bonds. The criteria they adopted allowed the Central Bank to cut deals with Primary Dealers. Rebuilding international confidence and credibility has become an uphill task. Who are the people who are responsible for this mess?  We have may be a half a Trillion to a Trillion Rupees worth of commitments made on highway projects.

The media says that the Private Sector has lost confidence in the Government.  The people have lost faith in the private sector, so have I. It is about time for the Private Sector to decide whether they can work in a modern transparent system or depart. I would be calling you up soon.

The Associate Editor of Daily Mirror called on Arjuna Mahendran to resign.  I have a problem with this.  Long ago, Kesara Abeywardena ran an article asking me to resign as the Leader of the UNP – I did not take his advice.  Kesara Abeywardena is a friend of Shiral Lakthilaka and he is a lackey of the Rajapaksa regime who is guilty of covering up blatant attacks on media freedom.  That such persons of questionable integrity are preaching morals to us is not only reprehensible but also abhorrent. His colleagues are calling on him to “go in the name of god – go.”  If he resigns, Arjuna Mahendran may resign.

Hasn’t the media been irresponsible?  The Sunday Leader owner Asanga Seneviratne runs a business that has made losses from the inception. How is it that he has so much money to pour in the business of creating public opinion? From where are the funds? These are all those who benefited from the Rajapaksa’s. I am sure members of this house are aware that one electronic media outlet has made me a target. Hardly a day passes without a campaign of misinformation and character assassination. All because I am not prepared to dance to the tune of the owner and meet all his demands. I must confess that I am emboldened by what they are doing. It has given me courage and strengthens my resolve to expose their sinister motives. There is also an ugly side to it. Innocent people are being misled but such numbers are dwindling. Their performance have ruined their credibility and lost them the trust of the public.

One reason for this is that Indian Companies are looking at Palk Strait and exploring for natural gas.  There is a company with strong links to the media that was trying to partner with one of these Indian Oil exploration companies.  However the only credible partner for the Indians in Sri Lanka is the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation. I will not allow collaboration with any other Sri Lankan Company.

I am determined to clean up the Private Sector, the banks and the Stock Exchange.  This is the age of the people –“Mahajanaya.”  I will listen to the “mahajanathawa” not to the “Maharajahs.”  Anyone who has watched Citizen Kane will see how press baron William Randolph Hearst suffered as a result of his self-delusion.  If you haven’t watched this, I recommend you do.

I also want to state that there is an imperative need in Sri Lanka for an Independent Broadcasting Authority. This is like the one existent in the United Kingdom to ensure ethical and fair conduct. Some institutions at present have become tools in the hands of their owners who have to protect not only their business empires but also more importantly their secrets and sinister ambitions.

It is only after we assumed office that the Central Bank adopted a more prudent system of calling for competitive bids. As a result the Government is able to raise funds at the most competitive rates. This would ensure that the government is able to raise money at the most competitive rates. The way the bond markets behave and how the secondary market works can be complicated and not many would understand the complex nature of transactions.

But we can compare the latest 30-year bond issued under this government and the ones that were issued under the previous one. The 30-year bond of June 2014 was issued at an average interest rate of 11.75 percent. The latest bond was sold at 11.73, slightly lower than the rate paid last year. This means we were able to raise just over 10 billion rupees at a rate cheaper than what the previous government paid. Furthermore, there are several previous instances of the Central Bank accepting much higher volumes of bids than what were advertised. On 14 February 2014, Rs 1 billion worth of treasury Bills were offered and over Rs 11 billion were eventually sold. On 14 November of the same year Rs 2 billion were offered and over Rs 13.5 billion were sold. What our government and the Central Bank have done is to raise money for the Government at the best possible rate through a competitive bidding process instead of using private placements. The House would agree that it is not a healthy practice to allow private placements when we could get better terms by opening up to a competitive environment. By resorting to a traditional transparent auction of government bonds, the Central Bank has already made significant progress in raising funds for the Government. Just last week a record Rs 100 billion was raised in 4 auctions to repay Rs 79 billion of bonds coming due this week and to keep funding government projects. 

The most important aspect of the entire issue is the transparent manner in which we responded to the criticism directed at us from various quarters. We never stifled any voice of criticism. The media, the civil society, political parties were given total freedom to voice their opinion on the bond issue. There were no white-vans at the doorsteps of those who criticized the government on this matter. Secret units did not tap their telephones. No one received threatening phone calls after voicing their opinion on the bond issue at public forums – like they did in the past, under the watch of the Rajapaksa regime. The People, the legislature, the civil society and the media were either hoodwinked or intimated when it came to problems involving public money. That is the main difference of the present government. It acts in a responsible manner and is accountable to the public as well as to the Parliament. When I raised a question about the Colombo Port City issue in Parliament, the previous government said “documents” of the deal should be brought to Parliament in Lorries. That was the manner in which they responded to allegations leveled by the opposition. 

Two Director Generals of the Securities and Exchanges Commission were forced to resign when they tried to investigate allegations of corruption. Journalists were not even allowed to write about the circumstances under which the Director Generals of the SEC had to leave their positions. We have acted in a totally different manner, demonstrating that we are a government that is accountable to Parliament.

People wanted an end to that dark decade and we have shown the “change” we have brought about over the past two months. What we have at the moment is not a “bond issue”, but an issue of certain elements who have been rejected by the people. Earlier, they attempted to defeat President Maithripala Sirisena at the presidential election, and now they and their sycophants are attempting to sling mud at us for their petty political gains. They are, I must say, trying to take undue advantage from the democratic platforms that we have created under the new government which came to power after January 08 elections.

එදා ජනාධිපති මෛත්‍රිපාල සිරිසේන මැතිතුමා පැරදුණා නම් අඩිහයක්පොළොව යටට යවන්න බලා සිටි අය අද යහපාලනය ගැන අපටඋගන්වන්නඑනවා.

සදාචාරය ගැන පාඩම් කියල දෙන්න එනවා.

අපි ඒ අයගේඅරමුණු ගැනහොඳට දන්නවා. ඔවුන් මේ මඩ ගහන්නේ පරාජයේ වියරුව නිසයි.

ඔවුන් ප්‍රශ්නගැන ක්‍රියා කරපු අන්දමට වඩා සහමුලින්ම වෙනස් අන්දමට අපිප්‍රශ්න ගැනක්‍රියා කොට තිබෙන බව අපි පැහැදිලිව ඔප්පු කොටතිබෙනවා.

තැන් තැන්වලහැංගී මඩ ගහන්නේ නැතිව මහ මැතිවරණයකටපැමිණ අප සමග මුහුණටමුහුණ සටනකට එන ලෙස මම ඔවුන්ට අභියෝගකරනවා.

This government has nothing to hide as we have always been guided by the principles of good-governance, which was at the core of our election manifesto. I must also reiterate that the government’s efforts cannot be hampered by malicious and vituperative propaganda campaigns.

I must tell this House that there is something happening in Sri Lanka at the grassroots level. Change is happening. Instead of poverty, corruption and injustice people see hope of prosperity, good governance and justice. For, a decade they have faced the darkest of demons and impossible odds and as one people they have spoken in January for a better way. I now speak in this House on their behalf.

They stand with us now for good governance. They stand for Justice and Fairness and they stand for Prosperity and Jobs. They stand with us for Freedom.

They believe in this journey that we have started together. And we will not let them down. We will finish this job.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Latest comments

  • 28
    9

    Brilliant speech, sir. Just brilliant. This country needs an intelligent leader who can prepare and deliver a coherent speech of this quality . Not some thuggish actor playing to the gallery.

    • 3
      13

      My Name is Bond …Arujuna Bond

    • 8
      1

      I agree with you to the extent that RW addressed Parliament to explain his position. The previous government would have resorted to trite western conspiracy theories and labelled all critics traitors (and done more).

      But the real issue here is the people wanted good governance, which is another way of saying people want a government that sets a good example. Our country can field many eligible candidates as CB Governor. Why select a man who has a conflict of interest from the get-go? On this score, this government has failed.

  • 14
    1

    The Prime Minister’s speech is good and we can agree with what he says. BUT we must not only know in our hearts that we are incorruptible but must also GIVE others that clear signal. Unfortunately, many suspect some level of corruption and the delay in investigating this has led to its aggravation. Hope this government will be aware. Also, our people are good “forgetters”! They may begin to forget the past corruptions very soon.

  • 9
    13

    RW’s speech today in the Parliament is what he was speaking during election time. He was repeating what the previous Govt. has done.
    What we were waiting for him to clear us is :
    1 ) Why all the Primary dealers were NOT informed about the need for excess amount ?
    ie : instead of 01 Billion Govt. needed 10 Billion. If I am correct, it could have been done very easily as it is all done electronically.
    2 ) Why the higher interest rate was NOT informed ?
    ie : 9.5 % and 12.5% ( may be small difference could be there . . . )
    3 ) Why NO EXPERTS in this field were Not appointed ?
    4 ) Why UNP Lawyers were appointed ?
    5 ) Can you ( RW ) just underline the sentence , which is related to this subject only and see how many sentence were there ? – If I am correct very few sentence are there, which is NOT giving a clear answer to others’ questions.
    6 ) ” . . .The investigations that are being carried out are not limited to this issue. It goes back to all transactions of public auctions and private placements from 2012 onwards . . .”
    So this matter will drag on for few months and will be forgotten . . .

    The rest is . . . . .blah . . . blah . . . .blah . . .

  • 10
    11

    Nice, appoint 3 stooges from UNP to investigate :-)

    We Sri Lankans are (in)famous for appointing self serving commissions !

  • 5
    5

    RE: Treasury Bonds Investigation: PM Ranil Wickremesinghe’s Full Speech Today

    Will there be many Sharks and Whales from Medamulana?

  • 9
    13

    The person who was in charge of the Central bank is Dr. Harsha De Silva who claims to be the most proactive and reactive Deputy Minister. However, only 24 hours ago he was virtually defending the Singaporean Tamil governor, Arjuna Mahendran.

    Watch this video Harsha just 24 hours ago where he so vague, delusional and trying to be spinning better than Muttiah Muralitharan.
    http://www.dailymirror.lk/66403/we-will-get-an-answer-soon-enough

    On CB issue he is contradicting himself as well as his minister and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe.

    Firstly this scandal should never have taken place and the Prime Minister should not have delayed this decision for so long to speak up, and force him to leave. Mahendran has caused enough and more damage to his good friend, Minister, Prime Minister and the UNP.

    Even at this late stage, he should simply resign and go than remain in the shadows and try and remote control the Central Bank from Los Angeles or Singapore. The Governor has also thrown some poor CB senior officials under the bus, because of his and his son in law’s action. Everybody who is familiar with the CB activities knew that the SIL was very close to Namal Rajapakse and Cabraal. he was bragging his friendship with party photos in London on Facebook.

    Now they are all totally abandoned the FB. Wonder why?

    The same activity was going on with Nivard Cabraal and Namal for the past 2=3 years, and everybody predicted this scenario when appointments were being considered on January th 2015.

    This event/scandal has compromised even the Chairman of the Bank of Ceylon, and Minister of Finance himself.

    The PM quite rightly attacked the media moguls the Maharajah’s, but what many don’t know is that Mahendran is married to the sister of Padma Maharajah. They all too have been unfairly attacked in this rag, Colombo Telegraph and I had requested the CT editor not to allow such personal malicious attacks on the family. He should be watchful of such attacks this time round.

    There are too many contradictions on this statement in Parliament. But the bottom line is there should be a clear and unequivocal demand for criminal investigations, as this is a White Collar Crime that needs to be investigated by professionals and not UNP attorneys who defend criminals for their living.

    Mahendran being a Tamil, he has brought so much discredit to the Tamils as well.

    Enough is Enough.

    Donald Gnanakone
    Tamils For Justice.

    • 15
      1

      Sounds like you have a personal axe to grind with AM. Why bring the race card into this situ? None of the others have referred to the Governor by his race

      • 1
        2

        Tamils For Justice campaigned for the change of government for many years and that is why I returned in November after 10 years of self imposed exile.. (Yes, fear of the Rajapakses and State Terrorism).

        We barely succeeded with only 450,000 vote majority.
        A swing of 225,000 votes would have had the Rajapakses in power for the next quarter of a century. We and the country was saved. And so were the Tamils.

        Many in the diaspora -GTF, BTF, TGTE, TAPI, USTPAC, TAG and others worked hard to boycott the Presidential elections. I led those who wanted to vote and allow democracy to function.

        Due to that fact, The Rajapakses white vanned me and deported me on the 15 of December, despite the protest and negotiations of the US embassy, since I was a US citizen. It was I who risked my life and limbs to come to SL and “work” with all to make sure that democratic rights of our people including the Tamils are protected.

        Like me, Arjuna Mahendran is also a foreigner but holds a Singaporean passport. Unfortunately for him the Govt. of Singapore does not permit dual citizenship like the US. The immigration dept. is also compromised and they are unable to implement the law, fairly and equally while they used the CID, TID, SIS to deport the other Tamils like Gunaratnam and Gnankones. The dept. is embarrassingly compromised. GOSL’s plan for good governance is “hijacked” for individual needs and greed.

        Yes, Mahendran is a Tamil and a Singaporean and I knew his father very well as a diplomat. We are always very proud of the Tamils and fight hard to get Tamils in deserving positions both high and low which is not happening. So when Ranil’s personal friends who get appointed to top positions like the Governor of the Central Bank we expect them to perform in extraordinary manner.

        Alas, what has happened in the Central Bank is simply scandalous, and dragging everybody down. The Minister, Deputy Minister, Prime minister and Finance Minister and Chairman BOC are being attacked and exposed by this scandal. Both involved are Tamils including Son in Law Arjun Aloysious who is already under some kind of investigations because of the deals done by Cabraal and Namal Rajapakse with him.

        So this is not a new game played. Everybody connected in the financial circles were aware, and not surprisingly predicted this scandal from the first week of the government even before Arjuna Mahendran was appointed in the 3rd week of this government.

        Furthermore, Arjuna Mahendran came to London to campaign for Ranil as the future President in October, where 3 meetings with the Tamil diaspora was held. Even Mangala Samaraweera, and Wijedasa, and others came and met other Tamil groups to discuss the elections and the possible removal of the Rajapakses from power.

        So the conduct of these Tamils are embarrassing to all Tamils and it is a Tamil disgrace leave alone a UNP disgrace despite the fact that they are not members of the UNP. Only and simply beneficiaries when the going is good.

        I cannot pass the Fort Railways and Sinhala Trade Unions and Political Action Committees are demanding Arjuna Mahendran’s resignation. Open the newspapers are this CB scandal dominates the news headlines despite Indian PM’s visit to SL. I have the courage of my conviction to speak out and I will continue to do so as this so called CB investigations are conducted by young UNP attorneys who hardly have any banking experience. They only practice law defending criminals and not prosecuting them. This is a “White Collar” Banking crime which is rather sophisticated.

        Donald Gnanakone
        Tamils For Justice
        Founder.

    • 4
      0

      Do you need to refer to him as a Tamil. We never refer a corrupt Minister or a corrupt individual as a Sinhalese. Do we say Wela Sudda is a Sinhalese or the crooks mentioned in RW speech as Sinhala.. so and so. Enough is enough- We do not need to label them as Tamils or Muslims or Sinhalese. Anyway we never label if a Sinhala man as Sinhala.
      This type of labelling creates ethnic and racial hatred.

  • 16
    6

    Love it when Ranil fights back.

  • 13
    7

    Excellent !

  • 8
    6

    Dear Ranil,
    I hope someone of yours is reading responses?
    It is good that you have ordered an investigation. However, in Sinhala it is like ” horage ammagen pena ahanawa wage” (clairvoyant is the thief’s mother) Chandra Jayaratna suggested a credible group. Where are the economists in the inquiry?

    At the same time you have come to conclusions before the inquiry! There is a limit? In a country where the social media has grown one cannot hoodwink the educated????

  • 6
    4

    Mr Prime Minister did you divulge the contents of the infamous CFA to the parliament?

    By the way it would be a good idea to divulge its contents once Right to Information acts is passed.

  • 5
    5

    IS there any parliament in the world that proceedings are conducted in Sinhala. Look like this Kalusuddha was talking in the British Parliament.

    Anyway, the question was even the govt Banks, which handed over bids to the Central bank on this bond issue, knew only one billion worth bids to be accepted.

    ONLY ONE INDIVIDUAL with his newly established company, knew that bids upto Rs TEN billion would be accepted.

    Did Ranil Rajapakse explain that ?

    Ranil is trying to justify what happened by saying the previous govt was totally corrupt. So, little bit corruption during this govt is OK.

  • 8
    0

    Mirrors and smoke – mirrors and smoke.

    Distractions, innuendo and lashing out in every direction to protect his buddy.

    Does he not understand that they were voted in to power PURELY for good governance – not for their charisma, not for their progressive development plans, not for their proven record and certainly not for their inter-personal skills? This was not a pro-Maitree or pro-Ranil vote but a whipped-up anti-Mahinda vote.

    So now we are told of the qualifications of the committee – and surprise, surprise – there is nothing we did not know about. They are UNP lawyers with no idea of what has transpired unlikely to be further enlightened.

    Nimal Siripala’s comments are very significant – because that have come directly from the President who fought tooth and nail with Ranil not to appoint AM as governor. What RW does not realise is that this he has reached a watershed in his political career – already seen to be ineffectual and limp. Now like in a temple drawing, Arjuna is seen to be dragging him down with him to the dark place beneath.

    Arjuna Mahendran has only one honourable thing to do – resign and save his friend who is desperately flapping around like an abandoned seal pup to defend a poor and ill-conceived decision to appoint him as the governor of all that is monetary in Sri Lanka.

  • 11
    5

    Can anyone else in the present Parliament deliver a speech like this?

    Hon.Ranil has demonstrated that he is indeed the Pearl amongst the swines.

    …..I am determined to clean up the Private sector,the Banks and the Stock Exchange. This is the age of the Mahajanaya. I will listen to the Mahajanatawa not to the Maharajahs…..

    Excellent! The time has come for Mahajanatawa to help Maharajah to pack his bags.

  • 8
    1

    Brilliant speech no doubt .. But the point here is? In the first place RW should not have appointed AM as Guv of CB because of the pending investigations against his son in law’s various deals. Arjuna, on the other hand should not have accepted this post – for the same reason. RW names and speaks about the various wheelers n dealers but fights shy to name Aloysius or his company Perpetual where Nivard’s sister is one of the Directors. Are we going to revoke this bond issue or will the ‘very competent’ three member committee tell us in a few weeks that nothing untoward happened and that AM can safely return to his seat? I can vouch that it will be the latter.

  • 4
    6

    Even Bad Boy Cabral kept the interest rate at 11.42 % , according to this long winded defence of Arjun & Arjuna Bond Traders Co by our Good Governance PM Mr Ranil..

    That was in 2014..International Bond rates have dropped a few notches since.

    And our PM’s own Good Boy AM jacks up the rate to 12.5 % and the S.I.L scoops up LKR 500 Mil at the higher rate.

    And our Good Governance PM wants the Elite , Anglicans, Vellalas and the SLMC , Bathudeen and Sally supporters to believe that it is all sweet.

    • 2
      2

      Problem is they do not have so called cheap credit, No money from IMF, US without federalism! I remember how Harsha thappulana hati saying he could bring cheap credit! Man is shell shocked now, Because treasury has no money to even build the ministry of defense building!

      Understand the reality guys, MR govt and Cabral was doing everything they could do to develop the country. It is only China has money to lend and we antagonized them,

      What can these UNP idiots do? Other than selling bond at higher rates! Now who is pawning the future generations, selling 30 year bonds? It used to be a grand party, There are no wise people in the party. This is the problem. Wait till the oil prices go up again, Then people will really feel the Bada ginna,

      • 1
        0

        “Understand the reality guys, MR govt and Cabral was doing everything they could do to develop the country. It is only China has money to lend and we antagonized them”

        what a silly statement ? typical Rajapaksa crony mentality , still trying to justify MR blunders , only people who can’t see right from wrong will endorse Rajapaka short sighted policies , MR and his siblings were miraculously saved by MY3 & Ranil from the impending UN war crime investigation , either way MR and his cronies will have to be brought to justice for abusing power .

        As for china , MY3 needs to get the record straight ,he will have to tell the Chinese leader , Sri lanka is no longer govern by Rajapaksas ,so learn to adjust to the changes , in other words , no more dodgy dealings , transparency is the key word !if China is not satisfied with the current regime , tough luck , go and find another dictatorial African dictator !

        • 0
          0

          Yes we are such a world power we can dictate terms to China!
          Keep going mate, May be you should go out to understand how insignificant we are in the world being a poor undeveloped country.

  • 6
    0

    Hon. Prime Minister must be commended for making a statement in the Parliament. But he has not done justice by talking about the past regime and its activities because they have been booted out at the polls. All he needs to do is to see that the crooks of the past are prosecuted with credible evidence.

    We are living in the present and as such let us talk of the present. In his statement the PM explains that he reintroduced the policy of auctions as opposed to private placements. Bravo! that is what it should be. He further explains that Mahendran directed that bids up-to Rs 10 Billion be collected in the presence of two deputy governors. What was the basis of that direction? Does he explain why the interest rate went up to 12%? Telling the world that the interest rate went up as high as 11.42% under private placement is neither here nor there except to give the impression that 12% is not abnormal.

    He reveals that there were 36 bids from various primary dealers amounting to just over Rs. 20 Billion. Can he be more transparent by telling us who they are and what volumes did they bid for and for what interest rates? Will he also tell us that on what basis that the bids of some were accepted and the others rejected?

    Appointing an all lawyer committee to “investigate” again does no justice. This is a matter involving the nerve center of the economy. Hence it must be at least a Commission of Inquiry with sitting or retired judges of Superior Court of record constituting it.

    Mahendran volunteering to stay at home until the inquiry is over with documents that must be signed by him being in a limbo is no good. Appoint an acting governor, perhaps the most senior of the deputy governors (provided he too is free from various issues) until Mahendran comes back or booted out.

    As some say the governor of any central bank must be “squeaky clean”. He jolly well knew that his close relative was dabbling in bonds and other trades. He should have told the dealer not to step into this realm and damage his reputation. One may say that amounts to violation of rights but that is the sensible approach to avoid conflicts of interest.

    We elected President Sirisena on the promise of a Yahapalanaya. The onus of delivering the same lies with President Sirisena. There are countries where an incident of this nature out-breaking as a scandal alone calls for the resignation of not only the official but the Minister as well. I am not asking for the blood but President Sirisena has to make that decision. It is sad that this should happen in just 60 days after the inauguration of the President.

    It only gives the impression to voters that fellows clamour to be in power so that they and their cronies think that they have a right to plunder the national economy thus making a democracy a mockery.

  • 0
    3

    shoot the Trespassers….the bond Trespassers

  • 2
    8

    Is there anything new in this speech? Same old stuff. We have heard all these criticism for the last nearly twenty years while he was the Leader of the Leader of Opposition. I can remember very well, when he was in the Opposition what were said of the Sri Lankanair. He said when he gets into power, he would investigate and take action to bring all those involved to book. What did he do? He became the Prime Minister when CBK was the President, who was instrumental in handing over 49% to Emirates. Did he do anything? NOTHING AT ALL. On the other hand, he must also be reminded why we had to chase away the ex President MR and bring this Government to power. Do we need to hear anymore and all the while from him (RW) of the doings of that regime.He must be thinking that these voters could always be “FOOLED” and taken for a ride with such references to the doings of the old regime. Mr. RW if you thing so, your are very wrong and it is high time to get out of that frame of mind and hit the nail on the head. That is why you are there, though it was not liking to the people.

    To remind you of a simple awareness; don’t you think it would have been far better to refrain yourself in making statements in Parliament while an “INQUIRY” is going on in the subject matter. Isn’t that an indirect “influence” and an “attempt” to direct the minds of the very investigating team on to your side of thinking? Why do you want to justify the “Bond Issue” and safeguard the very person and his involvements in this issue? You also now justify the appointments of the personnel to the inquiry committee. Did you consult or address your mind as the Prime Minister of the country to the capabilities and the required skills needed of such members who are to inquire into such economic importance? There are many such facts and issues one could remind you of; but by experience we know, you are only keen to hold on to positions than do a job of work. Mr. RW you failed us very badly so far and there is no ray of hope for the future of a government by you.

    Also you talk so much of Sri Lankanair financing and how that money has gone astray. Look at the Board of Directors you have appointed to the present Management. Who are they? and what “EXPERTISE” they carry in their CVs. Look at the person you appointed as the Minster of Finance. He has a case in Courts in regard to irregularities committed in violation of Foreign Exchange Laws. You should have, if you were such a person so keen on upholding democratic principles and transparency, told him to go and “CLEAR” yourself first and then I will consider you for a Cabinet Position. Did you not tell that to Mr. Sajin Vas Gunawardane when he wanted to join you? So please don’t try your tricks to “hood wink” us anymore. Better you keep yourself silent and try to CLEAR your name first and seek to be our Prime Minister and govern the country. Anyway, we are waiting till you come to us after April 23, if that event takes place.

  • 2
    0

    Bring the governor to the parliament and question him by the COPE. That is what democratic countries do, Also why commissions when their is so called financial crime unit, Hand it over to Police! Ranil people are not blind, If you really want to sustain bring a real difference to the governance, Make Police and judiciary independent. Then we will see all the white collar thieves in jail

  • 1
    0

    I do not want to comment on the speech much as this yet another habitual response RW to cover up his own and UNP’s misdeeds. similar things will continue to happen. They are day dreaming that by promoting MR as a PM candidate that they can win the general election by putting SLFP/UPFA to third place. That is why RW is deliberately delaying arrests of family members of MR.

    My problem is – how did RW appoint Arjuna Mahendran (AM) as CB governor? As far as I know AM is Singapore citizen. Singapore does not permit its nationals to have dual citizenship. I do not know whether they have changed this rule. If the rule still exists then can foreign nationals hold important positions like CB governor in another country? Has Sri Lanka changed its rules? Can somebody clarify this?

    Of course Bank of England is now governed by a Canadian.

  • 6
    4

    Those who are praising this kind of statement are blind and clueless.Only those who look for reasons to praise this utter failure will find it amusing. Ranil will get another huge defeat at the coming general elections which he himself is demanding now.

    Firstly, Ranil is very brave to make these kind of utterances in Parliament where we cannot sue him for defamation. He has slandered many people who cannot do anything about it. Is this the great leader you talk about ? He even mentions cases where persons have been taken in on suspicion by the Police as if that is enough to slander them.What about proof in a court of law and conviction? These did not happen. On the same basis what about allegations of mass murder in Battalanda and later cooperation with the LTTE terrorists and now bedding with those who defraud the government in the Bond issue ?

    Secondly, Ranil is asking very rhetorically what the parliamentarians know about soverign bonds . It is true most of them would not know much about bonds and even the stock market as they do not deal in those things.

    But what does Ranil know about Bonds ? He is an average lawyer and has never been a banker or a trader in Bonds. So is there something he knows that a man with average intelligence cannot find out by reading on this subject ? It is time that the stupid Sri Lankans realize that behind all his hot air Ranil is another mediocre man trying to pose of as a super brain . His arrogant and know all posture is hiding a frightened man who wants to hide his own limitations.

    Ranil says there were many frauds in these things under Mahinda Rajapakse and Nivad Cabrall.That is the very reason we all voted for Maithripala Sirisena. But that does not mean we will ignore this new set of crooks.

    All Ranil’s words try to hide one thing. Did the Governor Arjun Mahndra not know that the bidder was his own son-in-law ,in whose house he was staying in Colombo in fact? Did the son-in-law obtain a windfall profit because of this so called “competitive” bid?

    To call it “competitive” were the other bidders given the same opportunities that the son-in-law obviously enjoyed ?

    Ranil very insultingly asked the parliamentarians whether they had heard of James Bond, meaning they would not know anything about bonds but perhaps have heard of James Bond the famous movie spy.

    No Mr. Ranil, they have not heard of James Bond but almost all of them have heard of Mr. Beans who they think is very funny !

  • 4
    0

    Ranil wants to clean up the private sector !

    Good where shall we start? How about your Chief of staff Dinesh Weerakody ? Did he not benefit from political connections during the MR regime.He became Chairman of the commercial Bank with the support of MR, Namal( with whom Dinesh played badminton on army courts ) and Gota and of course Employees trust funds.Is he not also a director of the biggest stink of the MR era the Access Group ?

    How about Mr T of the NDB- all-out supporter of MR and man who has turned the once respected development bank in to a harem where all kids of things are going on.Before the elections he gave many pep-talks to his employess about the virtues of MR .Dont forget that soft touch soft-logic Nival cabrall’s creation is now controlling the NDB.

    When you are criticizing the Daily Mirror why not look at its ( Vijaya Group) heir Ruwan Wijewardena who became a MP due to family connections and was made a Minister over so many more senior and capable people. Despite Ruwan claiming to be be yahapalanaya and its leader Ranil, it seems that Daily Mirror in demanding your resignation ! Running with the hare and hunting with the hound !

  • 1
    0

    RW must realise that in the eyes of the public the Govenor has lost credibility and he must dismiss him swiftly or else the reputation of his Government will continue downhill. Surely the perception of skull thuggery will damage the integrity of the Govenor’s irreparably therefore he must go. Even if the inquiry rejects the charges, the office of Govenor requires high standards of honesty and integrity. The slightest perception of dishonesty would require the Govenor to go.

    • 1
      0

      Nobody dared to ask Nivan Cabraal to resign. At least now we have the freedom to ask the PM to have a commission which we wouldn’t have dared to do so.

  • 2
    5

    Brilliant speech, delivered by a Prime Minister, who in no uncertain terms reiterated that he would not dance to the tunes of those who consider themselves ‘king makers’

    He also pointed out, although many, nowm seemed to have the guts and glory to point fingers and demand for explanation, were in the cabin during the last regime, but dare not even squeak, as the consequences would be dire.

    As previously mentioned in a comment before this, Mr. Prime Minister, if there is some one monitoring this land other forums, I hope they would convey my absolute and sincere congratulations for publicly answering questions that were running through our minds, and clarifying the reasons of the actions taken.

    The details of loans taken for re-fleeting our air lines and the final expenditure that was made, for the building of infrastructure etc was mind boggling. As he says, how on earth are we going to pay back when our treasury is empty?

    As for the King Maker, if he feels and thinks that by slandering the current PM, he’s achieving his dream, he couldn’t be more wrong, first it was through his channel that he gave undue exposure to the upheaval withing the UNP, backed the wrong horses with the ulterior motive that he could topple the Leader and control the newbies. Sadly to say, as a result, many politicians who commanded respect were considered as the mischief makers and abhorred by most of the rural folk. Even now, he still promotes the likes of Sujeewa Senasinghe, Ranga (as known in his channel) just to creat unpleasantness withing the now, national govt. All because the current Prime Minister is blocking him from the autonomy of collaborating with indian companies in search of natural gas and petroleum, instead, the stance taken by the PM is that all Indian companies seeking to come into partnership should do so with our petroleum corporation, whereby the income would be added to the treasury and used for the people and not go to a singular cprivate company filling their coffers for the fourth generation.

  • 2
    0

    Clear cut conflict between Governor and his son in law.

    You don’t need a committee to look into that. One or two heads should roll and bonds should be cancelled.

    However these were common during MARA time as well.

  • 3
    2

    Like the Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe who has
    laboured hard to make a mountain of a mole hill, his
    minions are doing overtime singing hosannas for
    him.

    What is brilliant about this speech? It is nothing
    more than the rattle of a confused man. What did
    he seek to achieve by saying all those things?

    At first he fired a salvo at the Australian Prime
    Minister Tony Abbot. Then came the threat to shoot
    Indian fishermen. Now comes light machine gun fire
    on all and sundry over the bond issue.

    Other than a veiled defence of Central Bank Governor,
    which he foisted, he has gone on to castigate a
    number of others. He is Prime Minister. He is hiding
    behind Parliamentary privilege to do that. I do not
    want to defend people like Dilith Jayaweera, Ranee
    Jayamaha. Yet they are not drug warlords or bookie
    owners. They are citizens of Sri Lanka. If they
    have erred, go ahead – investigate them and charge
    them if they have violated the law.

    Only cowards will hide behind Parliamentary privileges
    to snipe at others. Another sickening instance was when
    he referred to one Kesara Abeywardena, said to be
    Associate Editor of the Daily Mirror. Surely, if he has
    any quarrel about him, he could easily speak to his
    own uncle Ranjith Wijayawardana the owner. Why snipe
    at a journalist taking cover under privilege? Sham
    on Ranil. Something is going wrong with him.

    As for his cheering squad who are assigned to describe
    his speech as brilliant, it is the same guys who will
    snipe at him when he loses the parliamentry elections
    ignominously.

    What will the Free Media Movement say about this attack
    on a helpless journalist by the man who claims to champion
    media freedom? Sunil Jayasekera might say Ranil Wickramasinghe
    “well done.”

  • 5
    2

    THE ROYAL CABINET IS ONLY ONE NOTCH LOWER THAN THE “ROYAL FAMILY CABINET”.

    Sir excellent speech and my congratulations to you. I have staunchly defended your capabilities during the past years when everybody was shunning you and called you names. I know that you are clever and genuinely interested in developing the country on true democratic values and the intellect you bring into discussions cannot be comprehended by most in the opposition but most of all they cannot be packaged and sold to the masses. This where you fail.

    Having said that sir! I disagree with you on a lot of matters related to the bond issue:

    1. Throughout your speech you have mildly insinuated that you don’t suspect anything majorly corrupt with this deal. You are only acting because there is a public outcry on the issue when in fact as PM you should have been the first to suspect foul play and appointed a commission even without it being asked for. Subsequently when you are pushed to appoint a commission you did exactly what MR used to do. How can you get umpires on the same side of a team, to make vital calls of OUT or NOT OUT???

    2. you say “What we have at the moment is not a “bond issue”, but an issue of certain elements who have been rejected by the people…..” by saying this you have already implied that there is no issue and vindicated AM. As a leader you are responsible for every word you utter and you cannot be partial. You cannot influence a judgement during an investigation. Particularly when you are PM.

    3. When you were in opposition Sir, you rightly attacked MR for staffing key government positions with his family and extended families. However you should have been cautious about the make-up of your government. Your royal cabinet is only one notch lower than the “royal family cabinet” that once was. Personally, 90% of your appointments have been very good but you should be cautious how you project them. Biologically they are not your family but institutionally they are your Royal family. Like it or not that is the truth and the masses have already taken this as a big negative. I have absolutely nothing against you (yet) and I know most of your cabinet people personally. They are good people but sadly the country does not see it that way As you say you will listen to the “Mahajanayas but not the Maharajas”. Then listen!!!

    4) You say “The Associate Editor of Daily Mirror called on Arjuna Mahendran to resign. I have a problem with this. Long ago, Kesara Abeywardena ran an article asking me to resign as the Leader of the UNP” . But Sir! I have a problem with this because this is media freedom and your character fails when you bring such things up in parliament. You will not send a white van to intimidate them, that I know but the very mention of their names in Parliament is a your style intimidation. This is not good governance so please change. The media must be allowed to say what they want. Its up to to you to change that perception of the media and the public. Let the results of your work be the change not your style of intimidation. This country will vote you out soon if you don’t change your attitude.

  • 2
    0

    The PM has indirectly declared the Governor innocent through his speech. Can the PM appointed investigators contradict this?

    The PM impressed with his speech but fooled the general public and parliament.

    Three simple questions need to be answered.

    Why did the CB have to increase interest rates from 9.7 to 11.5% (approximate rates) could not the 10 billion be sold at the lower rate.

    Was the 10 billion offered to all the dealers at this lower rate. If so were there no takers.

    If no takers was it offered to all dealers at the higher rate of 11.5%

    If the above questions are not answered all involved are guilty of manipulation and must go. Sorry PM Sri Lanka is embarking on a new era please don’t spoil it for MS.

  • 2
    2

    A brilliant speech with all the facts, Mr. Prime Minister you have my full support as a citizen of this country, we need to be patient and we will see the results from what transpired on the 8th Of January 2015. Sri Lanka needs you to lead this Island with a strong and honest cabinet to guide us thru the difficult days ahead .

  • 1
    0

    Ranil is a leader who cannot retain his power for long due to his own but unnecessary actions. Don’t we have suitable candidates for this position in our country!
    It is very clear that AM should be removed. If he has gone to his country – Singapore let him stay there forever.

Leave A Comment

Comments should not exceed 300 words. Embedding external links and writing in capital letters are discouraged. Commenting is automatically shut off on articles after 10 days and approval may take up to 24 hours. Please read our Comments Policy for further details. Your email address will not be published.