Karunanayake’s vain attack on W.A. Wijewardena

Monday, 21 January 2019 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

If I were to say that I was swept off my feet after reading Karunanayake›s vain attack (See http://www.ft.lk/opinion/Ravi-K-alleges-W-A--Wijewardena-involvement-in-private-placements-of-Treasury-bonds/14-670991) on a much respected personality it›s an understatement. I have not the slightest doubt that anyone will question the integrity of W.A. Wijewardena as his long career with the Central Bank, his work after retirement and his public opinions written and oral have clearly proved was and is a man of integrity, fearless and objective in expressing his views and wanting to contribute to the country with thought leadership. He was as many of us know among the three economists considered for appointment as Governor of the Central Bank when the new administration took over in January 2015. Dr. Wijewardena expressed his independent and professional views without fear or favour, and many a politician including the President, Prime Minister and the current Leader of the of the Opposition had never called him a hitman.

Ravi Karunanayake has cast aspersions on Dr. Wijewardena›s integrity and his alleged involvement in the bond market. The retired Deputy Governor has already responded and asked the accuser to wait till the forensic audit referred to in the article is received. 

The desperation of the accuser to attack an unblemished personality is evident from the meek reference to and the malicious description of the pension and salary paid to the former Deputy Governor which as we know is what the Central Bank pays under its remuneration policy.

It gets even more personal by commenting on his children who are resident overseas and possibly gainfully employed. No more needs to be said about the vain nature of the lengthy attempt to sling mud at a man I hold in the highest esteem.

I cannot resist the temptation to touch on the report of the Presidential Commission that looked into the massive bond scam when he was the Minister of Finance. Karunanayake surely should know that not even the most backward person in our paradise isle who belongs to various political party affiliations believed his story that he was unaware that Arjun Aloysius paid rent for the apartment for eleven months costing over Rs. 10 million. He later purchased it at a cost of Rs. 165 million. The report of the Presidential Commission is now in the public domain. Something that has not yet been acted upon is the Commission proposal to prosecute him under Section 179 or Section 188 of the Penal Code or other relevant provision of the law, read with Section 9 of the Commissions of Inquiry Act No. 17 of 1948.  The Commission also wanted the matter referred to the Bribery Commission as he did not tell the truth under oath. I find it extremely difficult to comprehend how a man with such a sordid history plus an incomplete case of money laundering thought it fit to attack a man of impeccable integrity who had never come to adverse notice in this manner.

Leonard Fernando