Sri Lanka COPE didn’t meet bond report deadline,COPE Chief presented his own document: PM

July 7, 2015 (LBO) –Sri Lanka’s Prime Minister Ranil Wickramasinghe said that the inquiry into the Central Bank bond issue by the committee on public enterprises (COPE) did not report to the Parliament as directed by the Speaker but instead asked for more time which was granted.

“You will recall that consequent to a motion of “No confidence” on the Governor of the central bank of Sri Lanka being presented and a request for a debate thereon, the Hon Speaker requested COPE to inquire into the matter and report to parliament within two weeks,” Wickramasinghe said sending a letter to the secretary general of the Parliament.

“COPE however did not report as directed by the Hon Speaker but instead asked for more time which was granted,”

“COPE also did not report to Parliament within the extended period of time until such time as COPE ceased to exist on account of the dissolution of Parliament on 26th June 2015.”

Wickramasinghe said, there was only a draft of the report presented by D.E.W Gunasekera, who was the Chairman of the COPE. However the draft report has not been accepted by the Sub-committee.

“Hence, there is neither a report nor an interim draft by the Sub Committee.” he said.

Gunasekera recently made a statement to the media and asked President Sirisena to read the COPE report and take actions if necessary.

“If the President wants he can get a copy of this report from the secretary of the parliament and see whether there is anything that needed to be done, and if so take necessary actions,” DEW Gunasekera told reporters on Friday.

“This is something that cannot be politicized, this is about the Island’s financial discipline, this is something that affects the whole country.”

A Committee on Public Enterprise (COPE) appointed a sub committee comprising 13 Government and Opposition legislators on May 22, this year to look into the controversial Central Bank Bond issue, following the Speaker’s ruling on a motion submitted by UPFA Parliamentarians seeking the dismissal of Central Bank Governor.

Gunasekera said the report which has 447-pages is complete and has testimony of over 40 people.

Auditor General, two chartered qualified bankers, economists and lawyers had contributed to this report.

However he says, the report could not be presented because the parliament was dissolved and there were objections from four members out of eight member who presented it to the parliament on the day it was dissolved.

He added that the report could have been tabled the following week if parliament was not dissolved.

However PM Wickramasinghe says by making a statement to the media, DEW Gunasekera has violated a parliament act.

“At the time Gunasekara made the statement to the media, he had ceased to be a Member of Parliament and was not the Chairman of COPE. He has passed himself off as Chairman of COPE and presented his own document purporting to be the interim draft report of the committee. This action of his is a contravention of section 22 of the parliament (Powers and Privileges) Act,”

“All media reporting this are also guilty of contravening the same action of the Parliament (Powers and Privileges) Act.”