Replying to Weerawansa's accusations COPE Chairman says it has no political agenda


by Saman Indrajith

The Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE) had no political agenda and it had never attempted to whitewash Central Bank Governor Arjuna Mahendran, COPE Chairman and JVP MP Sunil Handunnetti told Parliament yesterday. 

He made the observation in reply to an allegation made by MP Wimal Weerawansa on Thursday that the COPE was deliberately acting to take Mahendran off the hook. 

Handunnetti, rejecting the allegation by his erstwhile comrade, said MP Weerawansa had belittled and defamed the COPE and all its members.

"The COPE by no means tried to whitewash Mahendran as Weerawansa claimed. At the very first COPE meeting after I assumed duties, we decided to summon the Central Bank officials and they had been sum moned on February 25 after giving them one month period to prepare. There we decided to conduct a special inquiry into the Treasury Bond controversy and also to use the evidences collected by the previous COPE Sub-Committee in this regard. The Auditor General was asked to hand over a report to us and when he reported, the information was not provided to the CB Governor. We once again summoned the CB and other relevant officials and resolved the matter."

"If Weerawansa was ignorant of the COPE procedure, he should have asked from the representative of their group. He should not come up with such claims just for publicity. If Weerawansa wants to learn the COPE procedure, we will let him observe our sittings one day after taking special approval," he added.

Handunnetti said Weerawansa came up with this accusation against the COPE in the wake of COPE inspecting a State Engineering Corporation workshop which came under Weerawansa when he was the subject Minister. 

Deputy Chairman of Committees Selvam Adaikalanathan who was in the chair said the matter raised by MP Handunnetti would be looked into.

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