‘Secret loans’ of previous regime JO requests Speaker to conduct investigation

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By 2017-11-23

By Methmalie Dissanayake

The Joint Opposition (JO) stated that it would hand over a letter to Speaker Karu Jayasuriya yesterday (22), requesting that a full investigation be carried out regarding the Prime Minister's claims that the former government had taken a huge amount of 'secret loans,' and to reveal all the information regarding this to the Parliament.

Calling a media briefing at the Parliament Complex, JO MP Bandula Gunawardana said that 12 Parliamentarians of the JO had signed the letter.

Gunawardana said, "Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe on 21 November at the Presidential Commission of Inquiry investigating and inquiring into the issuance of Treasury Bonds, said that the former government had obtained a colossal amount of secret loans. He also said that several foreigners are coming after him and his government asking them to pay the money back now. We consider this as a grave problem because after this claim, there is a possibility of international investors hesitating to invest in Sri Lanka."

According to the Public Finance Management Act, the Ministry of Finance presents reports about State debt to the Parliament.

Apart from that, the Ministry presents Annual Reports about State debt.

"Furthermore, the Central Bank also publishes reports from time to time," Gunawardana added. "But, none of these reports stated that the former government had taken any 'secret loans' thus far," he affirmed. "When there is such a situation, the Prime Minister is saying that Sri Lanka has secret loans to pay. We obtain loans from international institutions like the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and the Asian Development Bank. These institutions will not accept the fact that Sri Lanka has obtained loans secretly. The accuracy of the reports we have provided them will be questioned. This is not good for the country," he elaborated.

Gunawardana noted that according to Article 148 of the Constitution, the Parliament is responsible for public finance. He said, "the Parliament has the right to know about these 'secret loans' if there are any. Therefore, the JO requests the Speaker to carry out an investigation regarding this and inform the Parliament of the findings as soon as possible."

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