Post-bond scam opportunity:
Many an eyebrow has been raised over a government decision to appoint former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) P. Samarasiri a consultant to the Finance and Mass Media Ministry.
After having reached 60 years, Samarasiri retired in the wake of an unsuccessful attempt to have his term extended.
Samarasiri was one of the top CBSL officials, summoned by the Presidential Commission of Inquiry (P-CoI) probing alleged CBSL bond scams involving primary dealer Perpetual Treasuries Limited (PTL) in Feb. 2015 and March 2016.
Three member P-CoI commenced sittings in January this year.
Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and Finance and Mass Media Minister Mangala Samaraweera have proposed that Samarasiri be given the task of planning out the expeditious establishment of a National Debt Office (NDO). Sources told The Island that Samarasiri had been offered all facilities currently enjoyed by an Additional Secretary to a Ministry.According to a note to ministers, the Finance and Mass Media Ministry wants the NDO to handle fiscal policy pertaining to public debt management. Sources said the NDO Bill had been submitted to the Cabinet and was to be presented to parliament.
Having served as an Assistant Governor for six and half years Samarasiri received appointment as Deputy Governor on June 1, 2014 with the concurrence of then President and Finance Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa.
During Wednesday’s proceedings at the P-CoI, it was revealed that on March 28, 2016, Samarasiri had been present at a meeting, where the then Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake instructed the Chairmen and senior officials of three major state banks––the Bank of Ceylon, the People’s Bank and the National Savings Bank––to make bids at the treasury bond auctions at lower interest (yield) rates.
Chairman People’s Bank Hemasiri Fernando has revealed that in addition to Samarasiri, Prime Ministerial advisor R. Paskeralingam was also present.