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Cracks in SEC?

Comments / 1771 Views / Monday, 28 May 2012 01:12

Some cracks have appeared within the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), just less than six months under new Chairman Tilak Karunaratne.

The Chairman has written to the Finance Ministry that senior Commissioner P. Jayawardena must be removed from the SEC. The reason cited was non-attendance of the Commissioners Meeting on three consecutive occasions.

The SEC Act states that absence on three consecutive meetings by an appointed member/commissioner without leave from the Commission is deemed to have vacated the post.

However, analysts said Karunaratne’s move was unprecedented and linked it to strained relationship in recent times between Jayawardena, formerly a State Counsel at the Attorney General’s Department, and the SEC Chairman.

It is claimed that Jayawardena who was appointed in May 2009, having opposed certain Commission decisions, had written to higher authorities expressing his displeasure.

Analysts speculated that this could be the reason for the Chairman himself to write to the Finance Ministry for his removal and seek a fresh appointment in place.

“The rule that non attendance for three consecutive meetings isn’t strictly enforced, but in this case the two not meeting eye-to-eye was the real reason,” they added.

However, it was only Commissioner Jayawardena who had been present in Courts along with lawyers when a case against the SEC by Melstacorp was taken up recently. (See boxed story).

Jayawardena hadn’t received a letter from Karunaratne in terms of intimation that he has deemed to have vacated the post due to non attendance prior to the latter writing to the Finance Ministry seeking removal and replacement.

The recent tougher rules announced last week too hadn’t received unanimous approval from SEC Commissioners, the Daily FT learns.

After receiving his primary and secondary education at Nalanda College, Jayawardena entered the Law College in 1985. Following completion of his studies at the Law College he was called to the bar and enrolled as an Attorney-at-Law of the Supreme Court in 1988.

He was engaged in private practice until he joined the Attorney General’s Department to work in the Government Institutions Division in 1991. Thereafter, he proceeded to the United Kingdom and obtained a Master’s Degree in Commercial Law from the University of Aberdeen in 1993.

On his return to the country he joined the Attorney General’s Department and served as a State Counsel and reverted back to the unofficial bar in 2000 and is now engaged in private practice. Whilst serving in the Attorney General’s Department he worked as a Consultant to the Ministry of Food, Internal and International Trade and Commerce and also participated in drafting legislation.

In addition to other duties he has served as a member of the Advisory Commission on Intellectual Property Law of Sri Lanka. He was an Examiner of the Council of Legal Education and a Visiting Lecturer of the University of Moratuwa.

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