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Wednesday, June 7, 2017
by Shamindra Ferdinando-June 6, 2017, 10:21 pm
The Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption (CIABOC) will not act on its own findings in respect of Treasury bond scams in Feb 2015 and March 2016 until the Attorney General makes known his decision on the presidential probe report.
The CIABOC initiated inquiries into bond scams in early 2015 during Dilrukshi Dias Wickramasinghe’s tenure as the Director General of CIABOC. Last year Sarath Jayamanne succeeded Wickramasinghe following the former’s resignation in protest against President Sirisena’s outburst at her institution. They are both Additional Solicitors General.
The three-member presidential commission of Inquiry commenced sittings this year.
An authoritative official told The Island that CIABOC would await the AG’s decision though its own investigations were almost complete. "We are of the view that a decision to move court should be taken following discussions between the AG and the CIABOC." A hasty move on the part of the CIABOC would be detrimental to the overall investigation, the official said, adding that the AG could decide on the report without calling for a fresh police investigation.
Responding to another query, the official said that the Presidential Commission Act had been amended to enable the AG to decide on the basis of evidence gathered by a Presidential Commission.
The official pointed out what he called a significant role played by the AG’s team assigned to the ongoing Presidential CoI. As the Presidential Commission of Inquiry had been able to establish vital information pertaining to the unprecedented case, those handling investigations expected legal action on the basis of its recommendations.
Sources said that co-ordination among various agencies was essential in case they conducted simultaneous investigations into a case. Sources said that the criminal investigation Department (CID) too, had been directed to probe alleged bond scams.
Former Central bank Governor and Singaporean national Arjuna Mahendran and primary deader Perpetual Treasuries are under investigation as regards their alleged involvement in bond scams in February 2015 and March 2016. Among others under investigation are senior officials of the EPF as well as some state and private sector banks.
Secretary to the Presidential Commission of Inquiry Sumathipala Udugamsuriya said that their report could be handed over to President Sirisena next month. The official said that Deputy Minister Dr Harsha de Silva, summoned by the Commission on Monday, wasn’t one of those who volunteered to appear before the Commission.
The Presidential Commission is yet to record Mahendran’s statement though the CIABOC questioned him in April 2015, just weeks after Minister Mahinda Amaraweera on behalf of the SLFP lodged a complaint with it. Mahendran has also appeared before the parliamentary committee on public enterprises (COPE).
Attorney-at-law Chrishmal Warnasuriya told The Island that had President Sirisena appointed a Special Presidential Commission comprising three Supreme Court judges instead of two Supreme Court judges and a former Inland Revenue Department deputy to probe bond scams, it could have recommended punitive measures. A Special Presidential Commission had the authority to punish those who were found guilty whereas the appointed body, a Commission of Inquiry lacked such powers.