CB bond issue : pm queries his not being called by cope

Published : 8:47 am  June 26, 2015 | No comments so far |  | 


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Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said yesterday that despite his request that he be summoned to give evidence before the Parliamentary Committee On Public Enterprises (COPE) regarding the Central Bank Bond Issue, he had not been given an opportunity to present himself before the committee. He said so while addressing the seventh annual conference of the National Association of Scholars  at the Central Bank Auditorium in Rajagiriya.

He said that, as subject minLate-City-DM-1-12ister, being deprived of such an opportunity raised serious doubts regarding the impartiality of the committee.

There was no doubt that the committee had the absolute right to decide whether or not to call for his evidence. “But their action has raised doubts about whether the committee was conducting an impartial inquiry,” he said.

He said his government was dedicated to eradicating bribery and corruption from government machinery and from public life. How could one expect a parliament that had shielded corruption up to now to take action to eradicate it? he asked.

He said the issuance of bonds by the Central Bank had hitherto been done privately, and, now, when there was transparency in the activities of the Central Bank, it was strange that the opposition MPs who had  earlier been silent regarding such activities were raising a hue and cry.

Changing the procedure and issuing bonds after calling for tenders from the public, under the direction of an approved tender board  was started only by this government, he said.

When questions were raised about this matter by the opposition, the government had set up a committee to probe the matter and also made provision for COPE to conduct investigations, he said.

Members of parliament who for the past ten years had never accepted our proposals to investigate allegations of corruption and take steps to curb corruption, and who were silent when these matters were raised in Parliament are now concerned about corruption. It is very amusing, he said.