Govt. tables Treasury Bond probe committee report in Parliament
The report of the committee appointed to investigate the recent controversial Bond issuance by the Central Bank of Sri Lanka, while acquitting Governor Arjuna Mahendran,has recommended a “full-scale investigation by a proper Government Authority”.
In relation to Mahendran, the report stated that the committee failed to find “any direct evidence confirming his participation with the activities” of the Public Debt Department (PDD) and the Tender Board Committee.
Apart from recommending the full-scale investigation, the final report, which was tabled yesterday in Parliament, made a few other recommendations to Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, who established the committee and appointed its members – GaminiPitipana, Mahesh Kalugampitiya and Chandimal Mendis.
In paragraph 20, the committee recommends that directors of Bank of Ceylon initiate a full-scale investigation and if necessary a forensic audit into dealer room operations and suggested calling for an explanation from the chief dealer and his superior officers with regard to certain ad-hoc decisions, considering the large portfolio of funds involved.
In paragraph 22, the committee observes no impediment for the Government, the Parliament or any other organisation with public interest to engage in the necessary mechanism in establishing the loss to the Government, if present.
“Since the PDD is dealing with the most sensitive information of the Government, the committee is of the opinion that a proper supervisory and monitoring mechanism has to be immediately implemented with regardto the activities of the PDD and the primary dealers,” the committee recommended in paragraph 24.
The committee observed the sentiments expressed by several primary dealers established a conjecture that sensitive information of the CBSL and the secrecy of the same may have been compromised on occasions.
“The committee is very careful to take note that this is only an assumption bordering on an allegation and nothing more. However, given the fact that a document containing sensitive information is available in the public domain, there may be a possibility of the secrecy of information possessed by the CBSL being compromised.
“In view of the aforesaid, the committeeobserves that a full-scale investigation by a proper Government authority is warranted upon the activities of the PDD and its officials and any other department of the CBSL to ascertain whether there is any truth in the assumptions pertaining to the sensitive information of the CBSL being compromised,” the committee recommended in paragraph 26.
According to paragraph 27, given the sanctity and the obligations vested with the CBSL in managing the lifeblood of commerce in Sri Lanka and the onerous responsibility that calls for conduct beyond reproach, the committee observes that it is not unfair for the general public to expect a high level of integrity in the conduct of the officials and the CBSL, which includes the Deputy Governors and the Governor.
“Therefore the monitoring of the digital footprints of the officials of the CBSL will espouse the cause in maintaining public trusts,” committee recommends.
In paragraph 34, the committee, having observed the nature in which the auction had been carried out without the proper function of the Tender Board Committee and the lack of paper trail and the recorded calls with regard to direct placements, thinks it prudent that a full-scale investigation be carried out with regardto direct placements up to 2012.
In paragraph 38 of the report, the committee requests the Prime Minister to take all necessary steps, including remedial measures.