Perpetual CEO ordered to reveal what happened to dividends

Bond scam probe:


by Shyam Nuwan Ganewatte

The presidential commission of inquiry probing the alleged bond scams yesterday ordered Chief Executive Officer of Perpetual Treasuries Ltd Kasun Palisena to declare to the Commission what had become of more than Rs. 712 million paid as dividends by it to its owning company over a period of two years.

Commission member Supreme Court Justice Prasanna Jayawardena told Palisena that as the latter was also a director of Perpetual Asset Management Company the owning company of Perpetual Treasuries Ltd the witness should know what had really happened to Rs. 712 million.

Justice Jayawardena said the commission took the matter very seriously and the witness must not disregard it. He ordered Palisena to reveal to the commission on the next day of sitting information about the dividends paid to Perpetual Asset Management Company.

The Commission told Palisena there was no doubt that Perpetual Treasuries Ltd had declared its dividends.

Justice Jayewardena said the commission had mandate to know what had happened to more than Rs. 712 million declared as dividends. He said the

commission was capable of ascertaining the required information but the witness had to cooperate.

Palisena said he could not say off hand how the dividends had been paid and he would check and let the commission know.

Commission Chairman Justice K. T. Chitrsiri asked Palisena whether the latter had been a director of the Perpetual Asset Management Company. Palisena said he was director of the company currently.

Asked by Justice Chitrasiri since when he had been a director. Palisena said he had been a director since February 2016. The chairman said Palisena should be aware what had happened to the dividends.

Palisena agreed to provide the required information to the Commission.

Senior Additional Solicitor General (SASG) Dappula de Livera informed the commission that W. M. Mendis Company had not obeyed the order issued about one week before to submit audited financial and bank statements.

Anuja Premaratne, PC, appearing for Arjun Aloysius and Mendis Company said his client needed time to comply with the order. Pointing out that the company had been given one week and, Commission Chairman Justice Chitrasiris wanted to know what steps had so far been taken to carry out the order. Premaratne said the company had requested statements from banks.

AT this point, Justice Jayawardena said the company already had account details, balance sheet information and bank account details and they could be provided to the commission. Time could be granted for detailed documents to be furnished, he added.

The SASG said the reasons given by the Mendis Company for the delay were not acceptable and the commission’s time should not be wasted. He wanted the commission order carried out forthwith.

Having listened to the counsel of the both sides, Chairman Justice Chitrasiri said the commission’s order had to be complied with yesterday itself. If any information could not be submitted the reasons had to be given in an affidavit. The commission would take those reasons into consideration when a decision was taken.

SASG de Livera brought to the attention of the commission that Palisena had not complied with a commission order to submit an affidavit answering the AG’s Department question as regards the recordings of telephone conversations about bond transactions.

Chairman Justice Chitrasiri asked Palisena whether he had brought an affidavit. The latter said he hadn’t as he needed instructions from his lawyer. Counsel Kalinga Indatissa appearing for Palisena was not present. Palisena said he could provide answers verbally. He said incoming and outgoing call numbers and times of calling could be retrieved from their system.

Pointing out that Pan Asia Bank, DFFC bank and Bank of Ceylon had submitted call recordings with specific details required by the commission, Chairman Justice Chitrasena asked Palisena what company had installed the system. Palisena said it was Metropolitan Company. Justice Jayawardene said the commission could make inquiries from Metropolitan.

Justice Jayawardene said if the witness had not told the commission the truth he would have to face criminal charges.

SASG de Livera said that though Palisena was the Perpetual Treasures CEO he was not familiar with the system used by his company.

Palisana raised voice in answering a question posed by de Livera, forcing the latter to warn him to mind his tone.

The Presidential Commission of Inquiry will resume its sittings today at 10.00 a.m.

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