Sri Lanka re­places hot-but­ton cen­tral bank chief

The Myanmar Times - - International Business -

SRI Lanka’s pres­i­dent on July 2 bowed to pres­sure from ac­tivists and re­placed the coun­try’s con­tro­ver­sial cen­tral bank chief, ap­point­ing a re­spected econ­o­mist to the top job.

Pres­i­dent Maithri­pala Sirisena an­nounced that In­dra­jit Coomaraswamy, 66, had been ap­pointed as the new gover­nor of the cen­tral bank, ef­fec­tive im­me­di­ately.

Mr Coomaraswamy was pre­vi­ously a di­rec­tor of eco­nomic af­fairs at the Com­mon­wealth Sec­re­tar­iat, an in­ter­gov­ern­men­tal agency of Com­mon­wealth coun­tries in Lon­don.

“Af­ter con­sult­ing all par­ties con­cerned, I ap­pointed top econ­o­mist Dr In­dra­jit Coomaraswamy to lead the Cen­tral Bank of Sri Lanka,” the pres­i­dent posted on Twit­ter.

The an­nounce­ment ended any prospect of out­go­ing gover­nor Ar­juna Ma­hen­dran be­ing reap­pointed af­ter his ten­ure ended on June 30. He had in­di­cated he was pre­pared to com­plete an­other term.

Mr Sirisena had come un­der in­tense pres­sure not to reap­point Mr Ma­hen­dran, who had faced al­le­ga­tions of in­sider trad­ing.

A group of Sri Lankan aca­demics and pro­fes­sion­als had gone to court to de­mand ac­tion against Mr Ma­hen­dran, a Sin­ga­pore na­tional of Sri Lankan ori­gin.

Ac­tivists had threat­ened to take to the streets un­less the pres­i­dent re­placed him.

He was ac­cused last year of leak­ing in­side in­for­ma­tion to his son-in-law’s firm, al­legedly al­low­ing it to make mil­lions of dol­lars in prof­its from a cen­tral bank bond auc­tion.

Mr Ma­hen­dran has con­sis­tently main­tained his in­no­cence. –

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