‘Government lacks competence’: A reply to Bert Gunawardena

Friday, 30 October 2015 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}


I trust the Editor of the esteemed Daily FT will bear with me and allow me to respond to Bert Gunawardena even though it will tax the already restrained space in the paper.

First of all, I must thank Gunawardena for crediting me with a reply despite his saying that mine was a feeble response not worthy of a reply. His contention that I could be the Governor himself because I have stood in his (Governor’s) defence on more than five occasions, is hilarious and somewhat silly.

I am compelled to reply because Gunawardena is frugal with the truth. The former Chief Justice’s husband was asked to step down from the bank he was heading because the previous regime wanted a scapegoat to wash its hands off the nefarious share investment in a company that was already in dire states, to help a member of the ‘cabal’ when there was an outcry. 

With regard to the present Governor, I would respectfully advise Gunawardena to get hold of the draft report of the COPE on the Central Bank bond issue, though officially not issued, but had found its way into the public domain and this will clear his confused mind.

The case against the Finance Minister was dismissed by the High Court on 18 May, discharging him from all charges, namely alleged violation of exchange control regulations and engaging in money laundering. 

When the case was filed in February 2010, it was a well-known fact that this was to spite Ravi Karunanayake and the funds were transferred from New York during 2006 to 2007. The case was not dismissed because of the change of Government as misunderstood by him but after a due process of justice where it was found that Karunanayake cannot be found guilty with the available evidence and facts. 

It is also a fact that US banks are under a regime of strict Anti-Money Laundering laws and the onus of establishing the bona fides of funds transferred out rests with the remitting bank that initially accepts funds and not the beneficiary bank. 

True that Raj Rajaratnam was convicted and jailed in the US for insider dealing. Anyway, it was the recipient bank’s responsibility to credit the proceeds to the correct account in terms of the Exchange Control Act in Sri Lanka and reporting to Central Bank accordingly. However, the High Court when discharging Ravi Karunanayake allowed any appeal or re-filing of the case but so far this has not happened.

My final contention is that Bert Gunawardena’s mails are full of vituperative invective rather than the issues he tries to raise.

I assure the Editor that I will refrain from continuing this exchange of letters on the subject hereafter.

Thank you and best wishes to Bert Gunawardena.

T. Mallawatantri