Former Chairman of the Committee on Public Enterprises Sunil Handunnetti last week requested not to undermine the forensic audit reports of the Bond Scam.
He made these remarks upon considering matters raised by the government with regard to the institutions which had carried out the audit.
However, this matter has surfaced as a point of discussion among political parties.
State Minister of Power Mahindananda Aluthgamage noted that these forensic audit reports have been prepared by an Indian firm under the previous government based on bond issues of the Central Bank between January 1, 2002, until February 28, 2015. He noted that they have a report based on the bond scam and these reports are based on bond issues of the Central Bank.
State Minister Aluthgamage noted that there is no need to confuse both these reports as the recent report does not highlight the occurrence of a scam. He pointed out that it merely notes that the government had faced losses due to certain decisions made by the Central Bank. He noted that the then Central Bank Governor Ajith Nivaad Cabraal was overseas recently and he returned to the country last night. He said that Cabraal will convene a press briefing and issue a clarification in this regard. Hence he noted that the real scam occurred under the government headed by Ranil Wickremesinghe.
UNP MP Ashok Abeysinghe also spoke of the bond scam;
“How can Ajith Nivard Cabraal’s sister occupy a position on the Board of Directors at Perpetual Treasuries Ltd.? How can four others in that family be employed at institutions which issue loans to the government and issue bonds? The amount defrauded by these individuals adds up to Rs. 10470 million. Under our government, the bond scam took place as a daylight robbery. Since this information came to light, those who stated that a scam had taken place are now stating that it is just a loss and not a scam. The government had faced losses of upto Rs 10470 million as a result of robberies between 2005 and 2015. We request the government to punish the perpetrators of these crimes irrespective of their party or any other differences. As the opposition, we will support such moves.”
Media spokesperson of the SLFP Weerakumara Dissanayake also commented in this regard:
“The thieves are denying committing any wrongdoing. It seems that no one has committed a theft. What happened to the money is also not known. In a few days, Arjuna Mahendran too would shirk responsibility in this regard. What Arjuna Mahendran did was identified as a scam. We continue to uphold our stance that the former Prime Minister and UNP leader was also associated with this. With regard to the transparency of the report, the question arises as to who prepared them? Under which standards did they compile this report? We feel that this should be done in a proper manner no matter which panel of experts conducted it. Thieves cannot be harbored if it is done in a proper manner.”
UNP MP S.M. Marikkar noted that the looting of the Central Bank began in 2004. He said according to the forensic audit report, the losses incurred between 2004 and 2015 are over Rs 10,000 million and the high profile scam has resulted in losses amounting to Rs 600 million. He added that no one has been arrested so far by the present government. The MP noted that their stance was that those involved in looting, and misappropriating public funds should be penalized irrespective of their parties, however, there seems to be no sign of that.
Commenting regarding the issue Co-Convener of the Voice Against Corruption Wasantha Samarasinghe noted that certain individuals are opposing the report as certain sections have been hidden. He added that the losses caused by the first bond scam exceeded the losses of the scam involving the UNP and the profits earned by Perpetual Treasuries Ltd., owned by Arjun Aloysius is Rs 25,000 million.
Samarasinghe noted that they know that this forensic audit was carried out by a team of foreigners and not by the Auditor General’s Department in Sri Lanka. He said if efforts are being made to divert attention on this matter, they request the public to avoid losing focus in this regard and be vigilant. He said both sides jointly looted public funds and that is why Mahinda Rajapaksa has undertaken certain steps concerning Ranil Wickremesinghe.
He pointed out that eight vehicles have been provided for him to retain the party leadership, 200 for security, a house and an office in Parliament too have been given to him. Therefore, Samarasinghe added that the Wickremesinghes will be protected while the Rajapaksas are in power and the Rajapaksas will be protected when the Wickremesinghes are in power.
Meanwhile, Leader of JVP Anura Kumara Dissanayaka said;
“I was amused by the arguments put forward by the perpetrators to justify their actions. They claim as they were not questioned while the scam was taking place, it cannot be considered as a scam. What sort of justification is this? This report has been prepared by an internationally accepted audit firm. These are white-collar crimes. Therefore, such crimes can only be identified through audits.”