Cred­i­bil­ity top aim for Sri Lanka’s new bank chief

The Myanmar Times - - International Business -

THE new head of Sri Lanka’s cen­tral bank, In­dra­jit Coomaraswamy, pledged yes­ter­day to up­hold its cred­i­bil­ity af­ter al­lega­tions of in­sider deal­ing that forced his pre­de­ces­sor to leave.

Sri Lanka’s pres­i­dent bowed to pres­sure to re­place Ar­juna Ma­hen­dran af­ter he was ac­cused of leak­ing in­for­ma­tion to his son-in-law’s firm, which al­legedly made mil­lions of dol­lars in prof­its from cen­tral bank bond auc­tions.

The scan­dal came with Sri Lanka’s econ­omy un­der stress – last month the coun­try be­gan re­ceiv­ing a US$1.5 bil­lion bailout from the In­ter­na­tional Mone­tary Fund (IMF).

Yes­ter­day Mr Coomaraswamy told staff the bank was “one of the great in­sti­tu­tions in this coun­try”.

“I am acutely aware that a pri­mary re­spon­si­bil­ity, ar­guably the pri­mary re­spon­si­bil­ity of the gov­er­nor, is to up­hold this rep­u­ta­tion and cred­i­bil­ity,” said the 66-year-old for­mer direc­tor of eco­nomic af­fairs at the Com­mon­wealth Sec­re­tariat, an in­ter­gov­ern­men­tal agency of Com­mon­wealth coun­tries in Lon­don.

“I can as­sure you that I will do my ut­most to do so at all times.”

Mr Ma­hen­dran, a Sin­ga­porean na­tional of Sri Lankan ori­gin, has con­sis­tently main­tained his in­no­cence and had in­di­cated he wanted to stay on af­ter his term ex­pired on June 30. But a group of Sri Lankan aca­demics and pro­fes­sion­als had gone to court to de­mand ac­tion against him and the govern­ment de­cided not to keep him on.

The new bank chief also promised to work in­de­pen­dently fol­low­ing al­lega­tions that the of­fice of the gov­er­nor had be­come politi­cised in re­cent years.

“When I met the pres­i­dent he just told me one thing: ‘Do your work in a straight way and do not fear any­body in dis­charg­ing your du­ties’. My in­ten­tion is to fol­low his di­rec­tion,” Mr Coomaraswamy told his staff.

He said he wanted to en­sure strong macroe­co­nomic fun­da­men­tals to win the con­fi­dence of peo­ple both in and out­side the coun­try.

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