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Jan 17, 2018

CaFFE urges president to take decision on PM

If President Maithripala Sirisena still trusts Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, he has not read the report submitted by Presidential Commission of Inquiry on the controversial Treasury bond transactions, said Rajith Keerthi Tennakoon, Executive Director of the Campaign for Free and Fair Elections (CaFFE) in a statement.

Moreover the Prime Minister has shown that he relies, not on impartial inquiry and independent investigations when making decisions on important matters but on verbal assurances given to him by his associates.

Tennakoon said that the report of the PCoI states that 'the question of whether or not the fact that, Mr. Mahendran was not a citizen of Sri Lanka precluded him from being appointed the governor of the CBSL was not a Question of Law. Instead, it was a value judgment, which had to be made by those who considered the wisdom of appointing Mr. Mahendran, who was not a citizen of Sri Lanka, as the Governor of CBSL.

"So it is obvious that the Prime Minister made an erroneous value judgment. He made this decision despite the fact that a number of the most senior cabinet ministers had objected to the appointment. The cabinet Spokesperson Minister Rajitha Senaratne continuously states that he opposed the decision until the Prime Minister requested him to trust his judgment and not to intervene in his decisions. The erroneous value judgment of the Prime
Minister has cost the nation over Rs 11 billion," Tennakoon said.

The CaFFE Executive director added that when the Prime Minister was aware that, Arjuna Mahendran had a conflict of interest, when he was appointed the governor of the CBSL, as his son in law Arjuna Aloysius was in charge of Perpetual Treasuries.

The report states that the Prime Minister 'has directed that Mr. Mahendran must ensure that, Mr. Arjuna Aloysius resigns from all positions he held in Perpetual Treasuries...Mr. Mahendran has repeatedly assured the Hon. Prime Minister that, Mr. Aloysius 'would not under any circumstances play any role in the business activities of 'Perpetual Treasuries. It appears that the Hon. Prime Minister has relied on those assurances given by Mr.
Mahendran.'

Tennakoon states that the report adds that the confidence which the Prime Minister has placed on Mahendran was misplaced. The commission states the prudent course of action would have been to independently verify whether 'Mr. Mahendran was honoring the assurances he gave the Prime Minister. We regret that the Hon. Prime Minister did not take this course of action.'

"Is this the kind of person we can continue to have as the Prime Minister of the country? The report shows that he was not only mislead by Mahendran but also by a number of other officials. This is a man who has made a series of terrible mistakes. Anyone can make mistakes, but these are mistakes that could have been easily avoided because a lot of people were trying to show the Prime Minister what actually transpired. But alas, Wickremesinghe continues to be stubborn as ever and it’s up to the President to decide whether he can entrust the management of this country to such a man,” Tennakoon said.

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