Still There

Nov 30, 2008 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s petroleum ministry has not yet been taken over by President Mahinda Rajapaksa, following a court ruling by the Supreme Court, a media report said Sunday. The Sunday Times newspaper, quoting petroleum minister A H M Fowzie said he had not received any instructions from the country’s president.

The Supreme Court as part of interim relief granted on two public interest petitions ruled that the ministry to be taken over by the president saying Fowzie had failed to supervise the chairman of Ceylon Petroleum Corporation, Ashantha de Mel.

Court also suspended de Mel and asked that the petroleum utility be run by the secretary to the finance ministry. Court also halted payments under hedging contracts which it said was ‘iniquitous’.

The contracts had a knockout giving protection to bank in case prices stayed up, but had no knockout at the bottom.

Court ordered the deals to be probed by the Central Bank.

The Sunday Times also said the central bank had sent letters to three foreign banks seeking explanations.

“We have called for their explanation and if the violation is proved, we can stop payment of this foreign exchan