Equity Probe

June 29, 2012 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s main opposition will push for an independent investigation into stock purchases by a state managed fund of private citizens’ retirement money and officials would be also summoned to parliament, a legislator has said. Harsha de Silva, representing the main opposition United National Party said the EPF had bought stock in companies that even did not qualify to be listed on Colombo Stock Exchange’s main board.

The six second board stocks alone had made 2.7 billion rupee loss of 22.5 percent so far, he said.

De Silva said the EPF had lost 12.2 billion rupees on some of its investments. The biggest losers included 1.8 billion rupees from Laugfs, 740 million rupees from Vallibel One, 87 million rupees from Lighthouse Hotels.

Other large losses came from LOLC (1.0 billion rupees), Browns (945 million rupees), Ceylon Grain Elevators (713 million rupees) and Galadari Hotels (470 million rupees).

Though all stocks had come down from all time highs in late 2011, some investments including Galadari, Lighthouse and Laugfs were controversial from the beginning and earned the fund the doubtful accolade of being the ‘buyer of last resort’ in the market.

The rating agency Standard & Poor’s also assessed the r