The JVP presented a set of proposals to the government after COPE report was released demanding that they should be implemented immediately. We produce here the full text of the JVP press release.
Immediate action to be taken as the COPE report on bond scam has been released
As soon as the present UNP – SLFP partnership government was formed Prime Minister’s friend Arjun Mahendran was appointed the Governor of Central Bank and on 27th February, 2015 a large scale fraud was committed when issuing Central Bank bonds. The government incurred a massive loss of revenue.
The main demand of the mandate received after defeating Mahinda Rajapaksa regime on 8th January, 2015 was an end to frauds and corruption and take legal action against fraudsters and the corrupt. However, even before the warmth of the victory faded a large scale financial fraud was committed kicking out the mandate received. It was the JVP that revealed the fraud to the country as soon as it was committed. Without stopping at that the JVP asked for an immediate investigation regarding the fraud and to remove the Governor from the post, at least temporarily, to allow an impartial investigation to be carried out.
However, the government did not listen to any such proposal. Although the government, specially the Prime Minister, attempted to sweep the issue under the carpet, as a result of the Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE) taking over the investigation prevented the fraud being shelved. It is no secret that once the investigations and inquiries carried out by COPE on the Central Bank bond scam were completed and when the final report was to be compiled the UNP members in the committee attempted to weaken the report. Once the attempt failed they continue to make various statements and meanwhile the government is neglecting to take any action regarding the recommendations. What they are attempting to do is to put the responsibility of the fraud on officials and save the government and the Prime Minister from the responsibility.
Although former Governor and several officials of the Central Bank, Perpetual Treasuries Ltd. are directly involved in the fraud, the government and specially the Prime Minister cannot shy away from the responsibility of the fraud. Specially, the Prime Minister should take the political responsibility of the act. It is according to the manner he acted throughout this period. The Prime Minister is responsible for the following acts:
• Taking over by the Prime Minister the Central Bank that was under the Minister of Finance
• Ignoring the opposition of the masses and appointing Arjun Mahendran, a Singapore citizen, as the Governor at the sole discretion of the Prime Minister
• Attempting to protect the former Governor from the time the fraud was exposed and also attempting to extend the period of the governor
• Not removing former Governor of Central Bank who was accused of a serious charge but waiting until his term ended (An attempt was made to retain him but had to abandon the attempt due to people’s opposition to the move)
• Later, appointing Arjun Mahendran, with serious accusations against him, to important positions in the economy
• After COPE took over investigation of Central Bank bond scam getting Parliamentarian Velukumar to resign and appointing Parliamentarian Sujeewa Senasinghe in a bid to change the composition of the UNP representation in the COPE and attempting to save Arjun Mahendran through such a move
• Not taking any action against Mr. Arjun Mahendran even after COPE report confirmed that a fraud was committed in the bond transaction, it incurred a massive loss to the government and the governor and certain officials in Central Bank are connected to the scam and points mentioned above indicate that the Prime Minister cannot shy away from the responsibility of the scam.
In such a situation we demand the government to stop making false statements but implement recommendations of the COPE report immediately and to take measures to implement the following considering them as immediate measures.
1. Based on the COPE report take immediate ,measures to take legal action against all those who are involved in the scam, mete out severe punishment for those who are found guilty and recover all the money defrauded from the state
2. Remove former Governor of Central Bank of Sri Lanka Arjun Mahendran, who has been accused of involvement in the bond scam by COPE report, from all positions he occupies in the government and the economy and not appoint him hereafter for any position in the government.
3. As there is a possibility that Perpetual Treasuries Ltd. that has gained a massive profit through the bond scam could take assets it has gained by illegal means away from the country, immediate legal measures should be taken to stop assets and funds owned by the company and all other companies affiliated to Perpetual Treasuries Ltd. from being taken away.
4. As COPE report has revealed that Perpetual Treasuries Ltd. is involved in the bond scam, it should be immediately withdrawn from the list of primary dealers of the Central Bank.
5. The officials of the Central Bank, who neglected their professional responsibilities to assist in the illegal transaction, could interfere in the investigations being carried out on the bond scam. As such they should be removed from relevant responsibilities.
6. Also, taking into consideration the COPE report presented on 9th August, 2015, a comprehensive investigation regarding frauds and irregularities that have been committed in the issue of bonds and various other financial transactions carried out throughout the past by the Central Bank should be carried out.
Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna