Colombo, Jan 23 (NIA) – Sri Lanka’s Anti Corruption Front (ACF), on Monday, demanded the immediate withdrawal of former controversial Central Bank Governor, Arjuna Mahendran from acting as an advisor to the Finance Ministry.
In a letter sent to President Maithripala Sirisena, ACF alleged that Mahendran, who faces serious allegations regarding the controversial Treasury bond scam, currently acts as an advisor to the Ministry of Finance on the Central Bank.
The ACF further alleged that Mahendran was a regular attendee of the meeting the Finance Minister held every Tuesday and Thursday
“When Coomaraswamy was appointed Governor of the Central Bank this meeting was held each Monday and Thursday at 5 pm on July, August and September. The dates later changed to Tuesday and Thursday and the last meeting was held on January 6, 2017 at 11 am,” the ACF charged.
During that meeting Mahendran advised Coomaraswamy on the decisions that should be taken by the Monetary Board, which is a violation of the Banking Act.
“This is a disastrous situation and we believe that you must show your commitment to good governance by action and not by mere words,” the ACF further stated in the letter.
“Your Excellency, if Mahendran is still in a position to advise and influence the Monetary Board, the people of Sri Lanka will surely think that the Special Presidential Commission of Inquiry which you will appoint will be another ploy to buy time. Thus we sincerely believe that you would immediately prevent Mahendran from communicating with the Treasury as a coordinator to the Ministry of Finance.”
A Sri Lankan parliamentary committee, in October, recommended legal action against the former Central Bank Governor and officials involved in controversial bond deals.
Sunil Handunetti, Chairman of the Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE), presenting the COPE report to Parliament, said evidence brought before the committee had raised reasonable doubt that Mahendran should be held directly responsible over the bond transaction amounting to millions of dollars and that legal action should be taken against him and responsible individuals.
He said Perpetual Treasuries, a firm connected to Mahendran’s son-in-law had made enormous profits from the deals.
The committee recommended that action should be taken to examine and recover any losses to the state and central bank.
The Central Bank should also conduct its own probe and come up with procedures to make auctions transparent, the Committee recommended.
On Sunday, President Maithripala Sirisena said he would appoint a Special Presidential Commission of Inquiry this week to investigate the Central Bank bond issue and recommend action.