JO leader wants Finance Minister sacked for lying

by Maheesha Mudugamuwa

Leader of Joint Opposition (JO) and Mahajana Eksath Peramuna (MEP) MP Dinesh Gunawardena yesterday urged President Maithripala Sirisena to remove Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake from his current position for being a liar who misled the public and therefore he was not suitable to hold that position.

In a statement issued on Sunday by Finance Minister Karunanayake he has accused former president Mahinda Rajapaksa over the failure of the Central Bank to gazette treasury bond issues and comply with proper procedure.

It stated that the procedure had been abused during the last regime to give legal effect to private placements made outside the auctions, and it was a ‘hidden attempt’ to comply with the law.

The statement states that the Honorable Minister of Finance is in the receipt of Extraordinary Gazette Notification No. 1895/19 dated 01 January 2015 issued by Mahinda Rajapaksha, Minister of Finance and Planning at that time.

This Gazette however was revealed to be a forgery before the Presidential Commission of Inquiry probing the bond scam early this week.

"This gazette is a unique example of relevance of fraudulent management of public debt by Mahinda Rajapaksha, Ajith Nivard Cabraal and his fellows in the Central Bank in violation of laws," the F,’s statement added.

Addressing the media at Dr. N.M Perera Centre in Borella, Gunawardena said, the Finance Minister’s statement was a fake and he had already put the country’s finance sector at a major risk due to his irresponsible action to put the blame on the previous president.

Blaming the Finance Minister for his attempt to drag former President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s name for the great central bank bond scam that occurred in 2015, MP Gunawardena said, "Minister Karunanayake has made false statements several times even in parliament and a person who continuously made false statements is not suitable to hold the most important position in the cabinet."

It was the responsibility of President Sirisena to send Finance Minister Karunanayake home, he stressed.

At present the country was at a great financial risk as all international financial transactions had started to fall apart while flight of capital out of the country had also begun due to Finance Minister’s instructions and statements, Gunawardana said.

It was completely wrong to point the finger at former President Rajapaksa for the central bank bond scam and Minister Karunanayake had no right to made such statements, he said adding that the JO would take actions to remove the Finance Minister from his current position.

JO also called the Speaker of the Parliament to hold special session immediately to debate on Finance Minister Karunanayake’s recent statement.

Meanwhile MP Bandula Gunawardene explained that the former President Mahinda Rajapaksa handed over Finance Ministerial post on January 08, 2015 and the bond scam had been occurred on February 17, 2015 under the present government’s 100 days programme.

Therefore it was very clear that former President had no connection with the bond scam, he said.

Referring to Acting Government Printer Gangani Kalpana Liyanage’s statement that the name of former Finance Minister and President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s name had been included in the gazette No 1895/19 relevant to the controversial sale on instructions from the Central Bank, Bandula Gunawardene noted that separate investigation should be conducted to find out the reason for not taking steps to correct the wrong pointed out to the CB by the Acting Government Printer.

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