Treasury Bonds scandal:PCoI sends questions to PM

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By 2017-10-18

By Kavindya Chris Thomas

The Presidential Commission of Inquiry probing the Treasury Bonds scandal at the Central Bank of Sri Lanka has sent a list of questions to Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe seeking clarification regarding some matters that came up during a testimony.

Commission Chairperson, Supreme Court Justice, K.T. Chitrasiri said, yesterday (17) that questions had been sent to the Premier and that he has been asked to send in the replies in an affidavit.

Upon receiving the signed affidavit, the Commission will read it and, if necessary, request him to submit further clarifications in writing or appear before the Commission to do so.

On Sunday (15) a press release from the Prime Minister's Office, indicated the Premier's willingness to face the Presidential Commission, in order to clarify doubts regarding its inquisitorial mandate.

It explained that the Premier had decided to make himself available as his name had been mentioned on several occasions during the proceedings of the Commission.

The press release stated that Premier Wickremesinghe is ready to testify before the Commission at any time. The statement read that the present government came to power on 8 January following pledges to uphold democracy and ensure good governance.

Accordingly, the Prime Minister's Office highlighted that the government will investigate all allegations hurled at it and accusations levelled against State employees.

The Prime Minister's Office opined that the present administration will continue to follow the same principles in the future.

The Premier's name surfaced on several occasions during recent examinations of witness evidence; the most recent was when Acting Attorney General, Dappula de Livera, PC, questioned former Central Bank Governor, Arjuna Mahendran about the Prime Minister defending him in Parliament, following the Treasury Bonds auction on 27 February 2015.

When questioned about the reasons for the PM's defence, Mahendran stated that the Commission should "Ask the Prime Minister". In August, the Commission recovered text messages from Arjun Aloysius' mobile phone which referred to the Prime Minister as 'PM' and Ravi Karunanayake as 'RK.'

These acronyms were used in text messages received by Aloysius and the messages also referred to "obtaining minutes of a Monetary Board meeting."

This startling revelation was made when the Attorney General's Department was questioning former Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake, who appeared before the Commission.

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