ACF piles on more and more charges

By Harischandra Gunaratna

Ven Ulapone Sri Sumangala Thera, Head of the Anti-Corruption Front (ACF) yesterday said that former Governor of Central Bank Arjuna Mahendran who is alleged to have swindled billions of rupees through bond scams talks tongue in cheek when he says that he doesn’t hold any post in the Finance Ministry but attends its decision making meetings.

Addressing the media at Welikadawatte, Rajagiriya, the monk said Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake was pretending not to know Mahendran’s misdeeds and charged that Karunanayake was interfering with dealings of the Central Bank though it comes under the purview of the Prime Minister.

Ven Sumangala alleged that earlier the Rajapaksa brothers robbed the country and lined their pockets with billions of rupees working as a team. Former President Rajapaksa paved the way for younger brother Basil to rob by placing key ministries under his brother’s purview while Gotabhaya provided the military backing.

He said now the unity government which contested the elections under the slogan ‘good governance’ had taken over the baton from the Rajapaksas and was robbing the country in a different manner.

Chief Executive Officer of CaFFE and key member of ACF Keerthi Tennekoon hailed the decision taken by Head of State to appoint a Special Presidential Commission to investigate the Bond Scam and added that until such time the investigations were concluded the assets of Perpetual Treasuries which handled the bonds issue should be frozen.

He said allowing the company to operate with impunity had shattered the expectations of those who elected the incumbent government to power to introduce good governance.

Tennekoon said the profits earned by Perpetual Treasuries during the period from February 2015 to March 2016 exceeded Rs.5.1 billion and it was an increase of 430% compared to profits earned by the company in the previous year.

Serious doubts that had arisen in the minds of the masses why Dubai based Sri Lankan businessman Nandana Lokuwithana who was alleged to be the front man by Rajapaksas ill gotten wealth was being embraced by this government.

Tennekoon asked how the government gave special privileges and concessions to Lokuwithana which would not be enjoyed by an ordinary investor.

He said Lokuwithana had been leased 100 acres of state land in Horana at Rs. 100 per acre rental per year with a 12-year tax holiday with 70% concession for the initial payment.

The whistle blower said there were serious doubts whether some key members of the government were hand in glove with the Rajapaksas and protecting them and help them launder the black money earned during the previous regime, even after they were defeated, by giving extraordinary privileges to a person like Lokuwaithana, instead of launching an investigation into his illegal operations here and overseas.

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