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Thursday, August 3, 2017
Minister Ravi Karunanayake said that the undated letter, sent to the then Central Bank Governor Arjuna Mahendran was “completely an oversight.” He said that he had not indicated the date and the reference due to an oversight.
When Additional Solicitor General wanted to know the reason as to the origin of such a letter the Minister explained the situation he had as the Finance Minister in the beginning of the 2015.
He said that there was an unaccounted debt in balance and an outstanding repayment amounting Rs. 100 billion, when they assumed duties as the new Government in 2015.
The witness said there was a meeting on February 26, 2015 with Mr. Malik Samarawickrama and Kabir Hashim over the fund requirement of Rs. 75 billion for road development projects.
The meeting was held prior to the controversial bond auction that took place on February 27, 2015.
When questioned he confirmed that there was no sudden need to raise money in February but the funds were required for the payments in RDA projects.
The witness said Mr. Mahendran requested him to send a letter relating to what happened at the February 26, 2015 meeting between the three ministers and thereby he had sent the letter in May 2016.
This letter contained the idea that it was decided at the meeting on the fund requirement of the Government for Rs 75 billion.
The ASG questioned the witness as to why there was no date or reference in the letter. The witness said it was an oversight.
Then the ASG asked whether there was a copy or corresponding Ministry’s file relating to the letter. The witness said he forwarded the letter in response to a request made by Mr. Mahendran.
The ASG repeatedly questioned him as to why he had not mentioned the person who requested the letter.
The ASG was of the view that this letter was created very recently because when it was produced before the PCoI, the letter was apparently new and “crisp.”
However, the witness denied the ASG’s stance and maintained what he said.
When the ASG was attempting to question further as to how the letter originated, the Commission said it was a waste of time because the witness has already made his stance before the Commission.
However, there was a heated argument thereafter between the Commission and the ASG over the relevancy of further questioning on the matter. (Shehan Chamika Silva)