qrcode.30294975By Shamindra Ferdinando

Former UPFA MP Rajiva Wijesinha says the next parliament should take up a special parliamentary report that dealt with alleged Central Bank bond scam.

The report shouldn’t be allowed to be suppressed; the outspoken former MP said, adding that the new parliament should take a fresh look at the alleged scam.

Parliament will meet again on September 1.

The Liberal Party leader represented the 13-member committee chaired by the then MP and General Secretary of the Communist Party D.E.W. Gunasekera, Chairman of the Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE).

Prof. Wijesinha was responding to a query by The Island whether it would be possible for Gunasekera’s committee to submit its report to the new parliament, though recent dissolution prevented its presentation. The Island also queried whether he felt the responsibility on the part of the parliament to further enhance ‘systems’ in place to thwart corrupt practices.

The 13-member team included and General Secretary of the Communist Party, D. E.W. Gunasekera, UPFA MP Susil Premajayantha, Minister of Health and Indigenous Medicine Rajitha Senaratne, UPFA MP Lasantha Alagiyawanna, Democratic National Alliance MP Sunil Handunetti, Minister of Ports, Shipping and Aviation Arjuna Ranatunga, UPFA MP Hassan Ali, Deputy Minister of Highways and Investment Promotion Eran Wickramaratna, Prof. Rajiva Wijesinha, Deputy Minister of Justice Sujeewa Senasinghe, UPFA MP Weerakumara Dissanyake, Illankai Tamil Arasu Kadchi (ITAK) MP E. Saravanapavan and State Minister of Child Development Rosy Senanayake.

The subject of the probe was a 30-year bond auction for Rs.1 billion on February 27. The CB received 36 offers amounting to Rs. 20 billion, it has been found. This enabled the Central Bank Governor to accept Rs. 10 billion. Earlier CB officials had given an indicative rate that interest rates of 9.5 per cent would be taken into consideration with such pre-auction advice being the usual practice.

Prof. Wijesinha said: “I believe a new Committee on Public Enterprises has to be constituted by the new Parliament, but I see no reason why a new Speaker should not mandate the new committee to move on from what was done previously, since there is a draft already prepared, with all the back up evidence available through transcripts. I think it will depend on the new Parliament, and I am also sorry, whoever wins, that what was pledged in the manifesto – and agreed by the Standing Orders Committee when I finally got it to meet – was not put to Parliament, namely to give the Chairmanship of such Committees to the Opposition.”

Prof. Wijesinha endorsed last week’s The Sunday Island report that dealt with the hitherto unpublished COPE findings. The former MP said that he was in a position to clarify any contentious issue as regards the inquiry.

Responding to another query, he said that some of his other suggestions meant to enhance parliamentary control and the accountability of the executive though being endorsed by the Standing Orders committee weren’t brought before Parliament. “I finally got the committee to meet again last week – the first time since February – and it was agreed to put what had been decided in the form of a report, but that too has been stymied.”

Prof. Wijesinha said that that those who had been responsible for the Central Bank affair should be ashamed. Equally responsible were those who had been defending the culprits, the former MP told The Island. Prof. Wijesinha tore into whom he accused of being responsible for the Central Bank affair in a posting on Facebook.