Unfortunately the Foreign Minister responded to the questioning like a kindergarten child. Ravi Karunanayake is an accountant by profession. Surely, he could have responded to those questions more professionally. The lawyer who advised him needs his head examined. Moreover he could have conducted his private business in such a way that he would have not got his family humiliated and dragged into controversy and ridicule like this.
In the first place Ravi Karunanayake was not the Minister in Charge of the Central Bank. The Prime Minister is the Minister of Economic Affairs and his Deputy at that time was Dr. Harsha de Silva. Both are not pushovers, they know the subject matter. Why have they not been questioned so far?
The Ministers named in the controversy going through the Commission reports are Ministers Karunanayake, Malik Samarawickrama and Kabir Hashim. How Minister Hashim who has nothing to do with the economy in 2015 got dragged into the CB bond controversy only he would know. What was Samarawickrama who has nothing to do with the Central Bank doing in the Central Bank dealing room on that day? When will the prosecution question them?
But what we now suspect is that none of them (Ministers) knew how a primary dealer makes money from turning a bond around and as a result they were all taken for a good ride by young Arjun Aloysius. They were then forced to do things by the young man to cover their tracks resulting in more losses to the State.
It is also interesting to find out who authorised BOC to arrange a credit line of Rs. 10 billion in a record 10 minutes to Perpetual Treasures. At that time the State banks came under Minister Ravi Karunanayake. Therefore who gave the order to the BOC Chairman? Therefore the Commissioners, who have very little real knowledge as to what financial engineering really is, should instead of turning the proceedings into a circus, make a genuine attempt to manage the investigations in a dignified manner without making it a public circus.
Ironically, the Joint Opposition (JO) Members of Parliament by filing a ‘No Confidence’ motion even before the report is made public is clear indication that they are trying move the attention away from the Rajapaksa family investigations which are now near completion. Most of them who are serving bail on corruption charges are using the bond debacle to cover up their sins through Minister Karunanayake. The Sirisena Government is happily walking into the JO stage-managed trap without taking stock of the real situation in the country. Once again political naivety on the part of President Sirisena and his Government.
Sources say it will take around one month to compile the report and also for the full transcript to be made public because it will require the agreement of the lawyers representing both parties. So why the indecent hurry for the Government to prosecute their frontrunner Karunanayake, when 90% of the investigations Sirisena promised in 2015 have not even led to one high profile person getting prosecuted? This is a clear indication of the sorry state of affairs in the Government.
In the final analysis, what is so surprising is that while the Bond Commission has been decisive and brutal in its questioning, the State prosecutors have done very little so far to fast-track many of the high-profile financial scandals involving the NSB, ETF, EPF and SLIC, money during Nivard Cabral’s tenure and Rupa Dheerasinge’s tenure as EPF Superintendent and her subsequent promotion as Assistant Governor. Her husband Dharma Dheerasinghe still continues to be Chairman despite his controversial appointment to a private bank board in 2011 by Nivard Cabral. Arjun Aloysius has surely had a hand in all those EPF transactions.
The fact that the FCID and the Serious Crimes Division and the SEC have done nothing to prosecute the white collar criminals of the past regime is a direct indictment on the President and the Prime Minister. It seems the fall guy for the Government’s incompetence is now Minister Ravi Karunanayake. But surely the man is not going down without a good fight?