COPE should inquire transactions of Templeton fund in Sri Lanka: Harsha

Mar 09, 2017 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s Committee On Public Enterprises (COPE) should investigate the transactions carried out between the US-based Franklin Templeton Fund and Central Bank in the past, Deputy Foreign Minister Harsha de Silva said.

De Silva confirmed to reporters Wednesday that close to 500 million US dollars have been taken out from Sri Lanka during the past two months.

“Templeton Fund has taken out funds close to 900 million US dollars in the latter part of last year. Almost 500 million dollars have been taken out within the last two months,” de Silva said.

“It’s true that about 1,400 million dollars that were there from a long time have taken out from Sri Lanka. But it’s not an isolated incident there is a background to that.”

De Silva accused the last regime over not holding any inquiry into charges made by them about the Templeton Fund and Central Bank. Analysts say over 10 Templeton funds owned more than 80 percent of bonds available to foreign investors at one point.

“Last regime didn’t inquire on these issues. At one instance, the Monetary Board decided to keep interest rates stable, then took money from Templeton. After few days the interest rates reduced,” he said.

“For Templeton’s money, last regime even kept the rupee artificially over valued and let people suffered. This economy was steered according to the needs of Templeton Fund and those controlled the Central Bank at that time.”

“We even remember how rupee was depreciated in 2012 Valentine’s Day. So we need to go back and the COPE should find out how these transactions happened.”

Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake recently confirming that the Templeton Fund had taken out 1,475 million US dollars out of Sri Lanka within a period of 14 months said it is because the US Dollar has been devalued by 0.25 percent.