Mahendran must testify, says commission

Justice K. T. Chitrasiri yesterday said former Central Bank Governor Arjuna Mahendra should abide by the law. Although the Counsel for Mahendran had said that Mahendran was a Singaporean, once appointed as Governor he was under Sri Lankan law, Justice Chitasiri said at the conclusion of Mahendran’s evidence led by his counsel.

Mahendran received appointed from President Maithripala Sirisena in January 2015 on the recommendation of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe. President Sirisena declined to extend Mahendran’s term in mid 2016 in the wake of the second bind scam in march 2016.

Referring to the media coverage in the wake of the Commission of Inquiry (CoI) deciding not to compel owner of Perpetual Treasuries Limited (PTL) Arjun Aloysius to give evidence, Justice Chitrasiri said that though the CoI didn’t respond to media reports, he availed himself the opportunity to clarify matters.

Justice Chitrasiri emphasized that the ruling given in respect of Arjun Aloysius wouldn’t apply to Mahendran.

Justice Chitrasiri pointed out that Arjun Aloysius said that he had been accused of irregularity in respect of Central Bank bond transactions. Although, Arjun Aloysius had said that he could face criminal charges in High Court over alleged transaction whereas Mahendran didn’t say such things.

Justice Chitrasiri: “Mahendran didn’t say he can be an accused. He came before the CoI willingly. Therefore, CoI can compel him to give evidence.”

Justice Chitrasiri said that the CoI had decided against compelling Arjun Aloysius to give evidence in accordance with the law.

Justice Chitrasiri said that the CoI had refrained from compelling Arjun Aloysius as he could have moved higher court and caused substantial delay in the CoI process.

The CoI chairman said the decision had been taken to in accordance with the Section 16 of the Presidential CoI Act.

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