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Reply to ‘Favourite whipping boy Arjuna Mahendran’


Comments / 3300 Views / Friday, 17 February 2017 00:00


It was surprising to observe the unsuccessful attempt by writer Jinitha Devapriya in his article titled “Arjuna Mahendran, the favourite ‘whipping boy’ of our times!” published in Daily FT of 14 February to defend the actions of the former Governor of the Central Bank. 

It is clear that it was not an independent attempt but a politically-motivated one. The article was written to the premier business newspaper read by many executives and professionals in this country. It should be noticed that the audience is aware of the professional conduct, acceptable business expenses and financial markets.

Criticism on integrity of CB employees and above writer’s ethics 

Firstly the author is highly critic about findings of the internal audit being leaked. But at the same time it is unprofessional and a wrong act for the writer to define internal audit function stating it “as we understand” and then copy pasting the definition found in website ‘business director’ (http://www.businessdirectionary.com/definition/internal-audit.html) without giving reference. The above writer should demonstrate some ethics at least while he is criticising another’s. 

Moving on, it should be noted that the information was leaked out by whistle-blowers in greater public interest. The secrecy pledge by Central Bank employees is for the greater benefit of the institution and protection of the financial system of the country, but not to secretly hide the financial misconduct and fraud of public officers who are appointed to be the trustees of the public wealth of this country. So please do not take the audience of this newspaper to be irrational in their logic.

Mahendran’s expenses

On the area of Mahendran’s expenses, I would say that the hypothetical example was drawn to favour creating a perception that “he spent so less”. One would actually expect the hotel expenses and entertainment expenses to be much higher for the Governor than found in the example. So the writer is walking around the real issues highlighted by Voice Against Corruption and media such as expenses about paying for two hotel reservations for the same nights and the clothing bills. The problem is not with the correct expenses but with the incorrect ones.

On the bond scam and Perpetual Treasuries, it seems that the above writer is unaware of the simple mechanism used by the parties involved. I do not intend to explain it but if one is blind to daylight robbery and its aftermath on the Government securities markets, the Transparency International reports and Bloomberg reports, there is nothing more one could do to open the writer’s eyes. 

The Central Bank’s primary auction and secondary market information could be referred to observe the increase of interest rates just after the said rouge auction. The bid allocation of the auction which was leaked showed that Perpetual Treasuries got a very high majority of the highest yielding bonds. It was widely alleged that the bonds were sold to the Employees’ Provident Fund. Further the company published accounts in newspapers show clear profits of Rs. 5 billion for the year to March 2016 for Perpetual Treasuries when other primary dealers could not even reach Rs. 100-200 million should draw attention of any reasonable person with minimum level of rational and logical thinking.

It is above the wealth of this country

Finally I would like to highlight that one may try to be smart and resort to petty attempts by finding fault with the fact discovering processes when the real misconduct is in front and finding loopholes in the wordings of the COPE report. Please do not try to cover some people involved with losing billions of rupees of wealth belonging to the people of this country.

D.C. Nanayakkara


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