Ind. professionals want PM to step down temporarily...


A group of professionals yesterday handed over a petition to the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption (CIABOC) calling for a comprehensive investigation into the Central Bank bond scams. Eleven members of the UPFA on behalf of the Joint Opposition lodged a similar complaint with CIABOC against the bond scams on Monday. Retired Rear Admiral Sarath Weerasekera (left) and popular actress Oshadhi Hewamadduma leaving CIABOC after handing over the petition (pic by Saman Ranaweera)

By Shamindra Ferdinando

A group of professionals yesterday urged Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe to step down temporarily so that an independent inquiry could be held into the alleged Central Bank bond scams during Feb 27, 2015-March 29, 2016 period.

Addressing the media at the Public Library, Colombo, retired Rear Admiral Sarath Weerasekera and senior lecturer Raja Gunaratne said as the Central Bank had been under PM Wickremesinghe’s purview at the time alleged large scale irregularities took place, the UNP leader should clear the way for a comprehensive investigation.

Gunaratne pointed out that at the time of the first bond scam on Feb 27, 2015, the Central Bank hadn’t been under the purview of Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake.

‘Independent Professionals’ addressed the media, after having handed over a petition to the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption (CIABOC) in respect of the alleged scam.

Attorney-at-law Yajith Tennakoon and financial consultant Jithendra Wijepura, too,

joined Gunaratne and Weerasekera to explain the circumstances under which Singaporean Arjuna Mahendran had been brought in as the Governor soon after last presidential polls in January 2015. Alleging that the massive fraud perpetrated by Perpetual Treasuries Ltd (PTL) had caused unprecedented financial turmoil, the group called for no holds barred investigation.

Economist Indrajith Aponso of the Colombo University emphasized that the government had pathetically failed in its duty to protect the interests of the public.

The media was told the national economy was in dire straits due to the Central Bank resorting to bond scams to benefit a group influential people hell-bent on acquiring wealth even at the expense of the national economy.

Rear Admiral Weerasekera alleged that in spite of CIABOC being maintained by public funds, the organisation seemed not really interested in performing its much touted obligations. "We had no option but to leave our petition with a clerk as none of those top officials, including the Acting Director General were present during working hours. The naval veteran said that Justice T.B. Weerasuriya, Chairman, CIABOC had to be contacted over the phone to explain difficulties experienced by those who wanted to make representations to the Commission.

Gunaratne said that only a thorough inquiry could clear Premier Wickremesinge of his alleged involvement in the Mahendran affair.

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