July 16, 2006 (LBO) – Businessman Nimal Welgama has declined a seat on the country’s Monetary Board due to an ongoing inquiry by the Central Bank, according to newspaper reports. Welgama, who was appointed to the board by President Mahinda Rajapakse on July 3, is currently the Managing Director of the Upali Group.
The Upali Group publishes the Island and Divaina newspapers and also owns a top confectionary brand.
“Welgama yesterday (Saturday) declined a place on the Monetary Board saying he would not accept the offer while a Central Bank inquiry into alleged overseas properties owned by the company’s Founder Upali Wijewardene was pending,” the independent Sunday Times said.
Following a complaint made by the heirs of Upali Wijewardene, who went missing in his private Lear jet in February 1981 while on his way to Colombo from Kuala Lumpur, the Central Bank began a probe four years ago into whether the flamboyant businessman owned property abroad. The probe is nearing completion.
The five-member monetary board is the governing body that is responsible for making all policy decisions and for the management, operation and administration of the Central Bank.