President Maithripala Sirisena held a high powered meeting on January 17 to examine the steps required for early implementation of the recommendations made by the Presidential Commission on Central Bank Bond and PRECIFAC reports.
The Attorney General, Central Bank Governor, Commission to Investigation Allegations of Bribery or Corruption Director General and senior lawyers participated in this discussion where the progress of action taken by them to punish the culprits identified in the two reports were reviewed. It was stated that initiating legal action against the responsible parties would be done by the AG and Bribery Commission based on Penal Code, Public Property Act, and Money Laundering Act etc.
If investigations of the Commissions led to revelation of additional wrong doings, such persons will also be dealt with under the law. A special unit will be set up in the CID under the instructions of the AG to further investigate the financial crimes. It has been recommended to get the support of Central Bank’s Financial Intelligence Unit and Exchange Controller for the purpose. A forensic audit examination in the CB has also been recommended.
An Amendment to the Civil Procedure Code is being contemplated to expedite legal actions to recover the loss to the Government. The AG has paid attention to hold the properties accumulated illegally by the Perpetual Treasuries and companies attached to it through Bond transactions.
The AG will look into the possibility of passing a separate Act in Parliament to recover the loss to the Government and the EPF to avoid the delay in court procedure. It was also recommended to hold a forensic audit examination on the EPF involvement in Treasury Bonds and Treasury Bills transactions from 2008-2014. New laws will be introduced to empower the CB to prevent repetition of similar incidents in the future.
The Speaker of Parliament would be directed to take action against the COPE members who had communicated with PTL owner Arjun Aloysius while the COPE probe was in progress and impose a Code of Conduct for MPs functioning in the COPE.
As the commission referred to the inherent delay of civil lawsuits, the government instructed the AG to take necessary steps to draft required legislations to recover misappropriated public funds in a speedy manner.
It was also recommended to conduct a forensic inquiry to find out about the treasury bonds and bill payments of the Central Bank between the period 2008-2014 and use of the funds of public servants deposited with the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) and Employees Trust Fund (ETF).
The President emphasized the importance of maintaining the highest level of transparency in the government from the highest position and that there are lessons that can be taken out commissions report in order to establish a national dialogue on how to respond towards the malpractices of the government intuitions and public officers.
The president advised the officers to take necessary steps to enact reforms to Public Debt Department and Monetary Board of the Central Bank in order to avoid such frauds in the future.
The President stated that, the reports of the Commission on treasury bond issue and reports of the Presidential Commission on serious frauds and corruption is forwarded to the AG’s department and to the Commission on Bribery or Corruption and that it was presented to the Parliament today.
Considering the considerable interest of the public regarding the treasury bond issue, the President advised to release the place it on internet immediately where report can be viewed from the website: www.presidentsoffice.gov.lk/.
Secretary to the President, Austin Fernando, Secretary of National Economic Council, Prof. Lalith Samarakoon also attended the discussion.
Sources : Ada Derana