By Charumini de Silva
Capital market regulator, the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) on Tuesday revealed that it had reopened files of 11 market manipulation cases that were closed under the previous regime.“Some of the cases that were closed two to three years back have been reopened. There are 11 reopened cases right now,” SEC Director External Relations and Surveillance Thushara Jayaratne said, responding to a query raised from the audience at the 5th Capital Markets Conference 2017 organised by UTO EduConsult in conjunction with KPMG and Adl Capital as the Key Knowledge Partners.
The status of SEC investigations in to alleged market malpractices came under spotlight at the forum which heard comments from a panel to the effect that the delay in action and the fact that many lost out during the bubble continued to beset a much-needed revival at the CSE.
Jayaratne said some investigations have been completed and referred to the Attorney General’s Office whilst some others have neared 90% completion. “Cases might take some time, but we are on track,” he added. He also pointed out that the cases that have been resolved are made public via the SEC website.
During the original tenure of Thilak Karunaratne as SEC Chairman, followed by Indrani Sugathadasa, several alleged market manipulation cases were probed. It was alleged that during the tenure of SEC under the Chairmanship of Dr. Nalaka Godahewa, some of these cases were closed with or without proper investigations.
During the run-up to the presidential and general election, alleged malpractices in the stock market by some became a campaign issue with the then Opposition promising stern action once voted into office. Karunaratne who was re-appointed as SEC Chairman was tasked to clean up as well as resume what was described as “stalled” or “closed” investigations/cases.
At the forum yesterday it was inquired why two-and-a-half years later the country at large and the market in particular had no idea of the fate these cases and why no cases had been filed in Courts or suspected parties informed of the status. In the context of some of the malpractices occurring in 2010-11, the verdict has been in limbo for six years.
“We don’t condone malpractices and offenders must be punished but early action is required to bring back confidence so that the market can grow than being stagnant over uncertainty and lack of trust,” a participant said.
The only action that took place since the new Government took office is the FCID filing cases against former SEC Chairman Dr. Nalaka Godahewa and Deputy Director General Dhammika Perera over alleged misappropriation of SEC funds.
CSE to hold road shows in Australia in March
In a fresh attempt to revive the Colombo stock market, investor promotion road shows will be held next month in Melbourne and Sydney, Australia.
According to Colombo Stock Exchange Director Anton Godfrey, the planned road shows in Australia are part of a series of initiatives to revitalise the Colombo Bourse.
Previously road shows were held by CSE in New York, London, and Singapore.