The Presidential Commission of Inquiry (COI) appointed to look into the controversial Central Bank Treasury bond issue has been given three months to furnish a report after ascertaining if there had been any irregularity or corrupt practice in the transaction and if so to identify those behind it.
The three-member commission appointed by President Maithripala Sirisena on Friday will inquire into the issuance of Treasury bonds during the period from 1 February 2015 to 31 March 2016. Its members are Supreme Court Justices K.T. Chitrasiri and Prasanna Sujeewa Jayawardana and retired Deputy Auditor General Kandasamy Veluppillai.
The President, in a gazette notification giving the terms of reference of the COI, said that he was of the opinion that it was in the national interest to conduct such an inquiry into the bond issuance matter in order to determine what measures should be adopted so there would be no recurrence of such acts in the future.
Among the matters the COI will examine will be the management, administration and conduct of affairs of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) in respect to bond issuance during this period and whether there had been any malpractice, irregularity or non-compliance with or disregard of the proper procedures applicable.
The COI will also probe if any contractual obligations relating to the issue of bonds have been entered into or carried out, fraudulently, recklessly, negligently or irresponsibly, resulting in damage or detriment to the Government or any statutory body including the CBSL.
The others matters covered by the warrant of the President appointing the COI include ascertaining if there was the discriminatory award of bonds, whether proper procedures and adequate safeguards were adopted to ensure there was an optimum price or a benefit for the Government and if so identify the person or persons responsible for any act, omission or conduct.
It will also probe whether there has been misuse or abuse of power, influence, interference, fraud, malpractices, nepotism or any act or omission connected with corrupt activity in relation to the bond issuance during this period.
The COI has also been asked to recommended procedures which should be adopted in the future to ensure that such matters are carried out with transparency and with proper accountability with a view to securing the optimum price or benefit for the Government in the future.
The terms of reference of the COI states that it “would not in any way impose a fetter upon the relevant authorities including the CBSL exercising their statutory and legal responsibilities” and that the relevant authorities are empowered under the applicable laws to consider and where possible pursue available action, notwithstanding the COI investigation.