Sri Lankan PM appeared before bond probe panel

Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe (C) arrives at "Presidential panel investigating into alleged irregularities in government bond sales" in Colombo, Sri Lanka November 20, 2017. REUTERS/Dinuka Liyanawatte

Vastavam web: Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe today appeared before a presidential investigation commission probing the issuance of bonds by the central bank, in what the opposition has alleged is the “biggest scam” in the country’s history.Wickremesinghe is also the minister in charge of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka, and has been accused of appointing his close friend Arjuna Mahendran as its governor despite a conflict of interest involving Mahendran’s son-in-law’s links to primary dealer firm Perpetual Treasuries.”I had an opportunity to explain our government policy on public debt…,” Wickremesinghe said as he left after testifying.

“The president, secretary of our party and our ministers have come forward to fearlessly give evidence,” he said, adding, “the ‘yahapalanaya’ (good governance) will move forward. There is nothing to hide. There may have been mistakes, shortcomings, but the ‘yahapalanaya’ will move forward”.The opposition has called for Wickremesinghe’s resignation over the alleged scandal.Mahendran, who was sacked by President Maithripala Sirisena after the scandal broke, in his testimony had told the commission that it was the prime minister who wanted him to do away with the system of private placements and go for public auctions to ensure more transparency in bond sales.