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TISL concerned over panel composition

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Central Bank investigation

The Transparency International Sri Lanka (TISL) told The Nation that it is concerned about the credibility of an investigation into allegations of wrongdoing with respect to the recent Central Bank bond issue given the political affiliations of the investigators.

All three persons in the panel appointed by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, who was responsible for the appointment of one of the persons under a cloud in this matter, Central Bank Governor Arjuna Mahendran, are associated with his party.  Wickremesinghe in a lengthy representation to Parliament about the issue did not refute allegations that these individuals were ‘Sirikotha Lawyers’.

Earlier, TISL, while expressing the view that ‘there is a clear case of insider dealing which is a form of corruption, which can only be unearthed with a credible investigation,’ welcomed the appointment of a panel to investigate the matter.  TISL Director Shan Wijetunga reiterated this position when speaking to The Nation and was quick to qualify the uncritical approval previously offered by the organization regarding the appointment of an investigating panel.  Wijetunga said that he hadn’t known of the political background of the panelists.

TISL in a media statement had earlier ‘welcomed the decision of appointing two committees to probe into the allegations.’

The committee members appointed on February 27 were Gamini Pitipana, Mahesha Kalugampitiya and Chandimal Mendis. Sri Lanka Freedom party and several other political personnel including the Opposition Leader Nimal Siripala de Silva charged that all three lawyers were in and out of UNP Headquarters ‘Sirikotha,’ consulting the party leadership and therefore the country could not expect a fair and balanced inquiry from them.

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