MA­LIK, KABIR SAY THEY DIS­CUSSED RS.15 BN FUND RE­QUIRE­MENT AT BREAK­FAST MEET­ING

When asked whether Per­pet­ual Trea­suries Ltd, Ar­jun Aloy­sius, Ge­of­frey Aloy­sius (father), Free­lanka Group or any im­me­di­ate mem­ber to them had made a fund con­tri­bu­tion to UNP, Min­is­ters Ma­lik Sa­ma­rawick­rema and Kabir Hashim said there was no such con­tributi

Daily Mirror (Sri Lanka) - - FRONT PAGE - BY SHE­HAN CHAMIKA SILVA

Min­is­ter of Pub­lic En­ter­prises Devel­op­ment Kabir Hashim and Min­is­ter of Devel­op­ment Strate­gies and In­ter­na­tional Trade Ma­lik Sa­ma­rawick­rema yes­ter­day tes­ti­fy­ing be­fore the com­mis­sion said that they at­tended the break­fast meet­ing held on Fe­bru­ary 26, 2015 (be­fore the con­tro­ver­sial auc­tion) and dis­cussed about an im­me­di­ate Rs. 15 bil­lion fund re­quire­ment for Road Devel­op­ment projects. Pix by Pradeep Pathi­rana

At the on­set of the yes­ter­day’s pro­ceed­ings, it was re­vealed that there was a list of 20 wit­nesses sub­mit­ted to the Com­mis­sion by the Of­fi­cials of At­tor­ney Gen­eral’s Depart­ment at­tached to the Pres­i­den­tial Com­mis­sion of In­quiry in ex­pec­ta­tion of ob­tain­ing tes­ti­monies per­tain­ing to the bond in­quiry.

How­ever, con­sid­er­ing the time con­straints, the Com­mis­sion had de­cided to sum­mon three wit­nesses out of that. They were EPF for­mer dealer Sa­man Ku­mara, Aloy­sius’ per­sonal As­sis­tant Steve Samuel and Mr. Ni­hal Fon­seka (Mone­tary Board mem­ber).

It was also stated that the de­ci­sion to sum­mon Min­is­ter of Pub­lic En­ter­prises devel­op­ment Kabir Hashim and Min­is­ter of Devel­op­ment Strate­gies and In­ter­na­tional Trade Ma­lik Sa­ma­rawick­rama had been taken by the Com­mis­sion it­self not the of­fi­cials of the At­tor­ney Gen­eral’s Depart­ment.

Both of the min­is­ters yes­ter­day ap­peared be­fore the Com­mis­sion and tes­ti­fied with re­gard to a ‘break­fast meet­ing’ said to have been held on Fe­bru­ary 26, 2015 (be­fore the con­tro­ver­sial bond auc­tion) at the CBSL.

Ear­lier, it tran­spired dur­ing the pro­ceed­ings that a Rs. 75 bil­lion fund re­quire­ment for the Road Devel­op­ment projects had been dis­cussed at this meet­ing.

For­mer Gover­nor Ar­juna Ma­hen­dran’s lawyer had also sub­mit­ted a let­ter to the Com­mis­sion which was given by the Fi­nance Min­istry to the Gover­nor con­firm­ing about hold­ing of such meet­ing.

How­ever, this let­ter was sent to the Gover­nor by then Fi­nance Min­is­ter Ravi Karunanayake much later in June 2016 when Mr. Ma­hen­dran was tes­ti­fy­ing be­fore the Hadun­netti COPE.

Min­is­ter Ma­lik Sa­ma­rawick­rama first tes­ti­fied be­fore the Com­mis­sion yes­ter­day and Jus­tice K.T. Chi­trasiri and Com­mis­sioner re­tired Deputy Au­di­tor Gen­eral K. Velupil­lai Kan­dasami ques­tioned the wit­ness.

MIN­IS­TER MA­LIK SA­MA­RAWICK­RAMA

Jus­tice Chi­trasiri: Did you at­tend the Fe­bru­ary 26, 2015? Wit­ness Min­is­ter Ma­lik Sa­ma­rawick­rama: Yes Jus­tice Kan­dasami: In what ca­pac­ity did you at­tended that meet­ing? Wit­ness Min­is­ter Ma­lik Sa­ma­rawick­rama: As a se­nior Ad­vi­sor to the Prime Min­is­ter

Jus­tice Chi­trasiri: Who were the mem­bers that par­tic­i­pated in that meet­ing?

W: For­mer Fi­nance Min­is­ter Ravi Karunanayake, Min­is­ter Kabir Hashim, for­mer Gover­nor Ar­juna Ma­hen­dran, RDA of­fi­cials, Trea­sury of­fi­cials and CBSL of­fi­cials J: What was the pur­pose for hold­ing such a meet­ing? The wit­ness said that the Prime Min­is­ter had sug­gested to the then Fi­nance Min­is­ter and the Gov­ern­ment that the on going Road Devel­op­ment projects had been stopped due to un­paid bills by the pre­vi­ous regime. And there­fore he came to dis­cuss about the fund re­quire­ment to pay those bills. J: What was the fund re­quire­ment? Wit­ness said that there was a Rs. 18 bil­lion fund re­quire­ment dis­cussed. How­ever at that time the RDA had Rs. 3 bil­lion in hand and there­fore, there was an im­me­di­ate Rs. 15 bil­lion fund re­quire­ment to con­tinue the Road Devel­op­ment projects. J: was it dis­cussed how to raise funds in the meet­ing?

W: No. There was no dis­cus­sion as to how to raise funds but dis­cussed about the fund re­quire­ment. J: Did that meet­ing dis­cuss any­thing about the T-bond auc­tion, which was sched­uled to be held on the fol­low­ing day (Fe­bru­ary 27)? W: None. There was no dis­cus­sion at all. J: Did you talk with for­mer Gover­nor Ar­juna Ma­hen­dran on the tele­phone after the meet­ing on Fe­bru­ary 26 or on Fe­bru­ary 27?

W: As far as I rec­ol­lect, no. J: What is your po­si­tion in the United National Party (UNP) in 2015 and 2016? W: Chair­man of UNP J: Dur­ing that pe­riod can you say that Per­pet­ual Trea­suries Ltd, Ar­jun Aloy­sius, Ge­of­frey Aloy­sius (father), Free­lanka Group or any im­me­di­ate mem­ber to them had made a fund con­tri­bu­tion to UNP?

W: As far as I know, no. Not to the party or even to me. Then the Com­mis­sion asked coun­sel of the At­tor­ney Gen­eral’s Depart­ment whether they have any ques­tions to ask. How­ever, Ad­di­tional Solic­i­tor Gen­eral Dap­pula De Livera said that they have no ques­tion to ask from­min­is­ter Ma­lik Sa­ma­rawick­rama.

MIN­IS­TER OF PUB­LIC EN­TER­PRISES DEVEL­OP­MENT KABIR HASHIM

Jus­tice Chi­trasiri: Did you at­tend the Fe­bru­ary 26, 2015? Wit­ness Min­is­ter Kabir Hashim: Yes J: In what ca­pac­ity? Wit­ness Kabir Hashim: As the Min­is­ter of High­ways

Who were the other mem­bers that at­tended this meet­ing?

W: Se­nior ad­vi­sor to the Prime Min­is­ter Ma­lik Sa­ma­rawick­rama, for­mer Gover­nor Ar­juna Ma­hen­dran, RDA of­fi­cials, CBSL of­fi­cials and Trea­sury of­fi­cials were there. J: What was the pur­pose of that meet­ing? Ac­cord­ing to the wit­ness the Road Devel­op­ment projects had been stopped at that time due to un­paid bills by the pre­vi­ous regime.

The wit­ness said there­fore the RDA wanted funds to recom­mence those halted projects for un­paid bills. Mr. Hashim said that RDA had in­formed the Trea­sury Sec­re­tary about these un­paid bills on Fe­bru­ary 16, 2015.

When asked by the Com­mis­sion, the wit­ness said that he can pro­vide the let­ters sent by the RDA if nec­es­sary to the Com­mis­sion.

Mr. Hashim said there was an ur­gent fund re­quire­ment of Rs. 18 bil­lion for the Road Devel­op­ment projects. He said there was an al­lo­ca­tion of Rs. 3 bil­lion in the RDA at that time and thereby needed an im­me­di­ate fund re­quire­ment of Rs. 15 bil­lion.

The wit­ness also ex­plained that this re­quire­ment of funds for the RDA had been dis­cussed at the Cab­i­net Sub Com­mit­tee meet­ing held on Fe­bru­ary 24, 2015 as well.

He said then they for­warded this fund re­quire­ment at the break­fast meet­ing held on Fe­bru­ary 26, 2015.

At this mo­ment Jus­tice Prasanna Jayawar­dena asked “You are sure about this fund re­quire­ment of Rs. 18 bil­lion, right?”

Wit­ness said that ini­tially there was a dis­cus­sion about a Rs. 18 bil­lion re­quire­ment and after the al­lo­ca­tions of the RDA (Rs. 3 bil­lion) there was an im­me­di­ate Rs. 15 bil­lion needed for the recom­mence­ment of the Road Devel­op­ment projects. “In the meet­ing we sub­mit­ted our side to the of­fi­cials over the ur­gent fund re­quire­ment and CBSL of­fi­cials and then Fi­nance Min­is­ter said that they will sup­port us.”

When ques­tioned by the Com­mis­sion, the wit­ness said that RDA re­ceived Rs. 8.3 bil­lion in the be­gin­ning of the Month of March from the Trea­sury. He said there­after they re­quested the Trea­sury for the bal­ance 10 bil­lion on March 16, 2015.

Jus­tice Prasanna Jayawar­dena: In the mid­dle of March you still wanted that Rs. 18 bil­lion. Which means that Rs. 18 bil­lion Fe­bru­ary fund re­quire­ment re­mained un­changed even for the month of March? Wit­ness’s an­swer was af­fir­ma­tive.

Jus­tice Chi­trasiri: Did that meet­ing dis­cuss any­thing about the T-bond auc­tion, which was sched­uled to be held fol­low­ing day (Fe­bru­ary 27)? W: No J: Did you speak to for­mer Gover­nor Ar­juna Ma­hen­dran on tele­phone on Fe­bru­ary 26 or 27 after the meet­ing? W: To the best of my knowl­edge I don’t think so. J: What is your po­si­tion in United National Party (UNP) in 2015 and 2016?

W: Gen­eral Sec­re­tary J: Dur­ing that pe­riod can you say that Per­pet­ual Trea­suries Ltd, Ar­jun Aloy­sius, Ge­of­frey Aloy­sius (father), Free­lanka Group or any im­me­di­ate mem­ber to them had made a fund con­tri­bu­tion to UNP?

W: Best my rec­ol­lec­tion, no. At this point again the Com­mis­sion asked the coun­sel of the At­tor­ney Gen­eral’s Depart­ment whether they have any ques­tions to ask. How­ever, Ad­di­tional Solic­i­tor Gen­eral Dap­pula De Livera said again that they have no ques­tions to ask from­min­is­ter Kabir Hashim as well.

How­ever, Coun­sel Arul­pra­gasam who was ap­pear­ing on be­half of PTL ques­tioned Min­is­ter Kabir Hashim re­gard­ing the National Sav­ings Bank (NSB).

It was re­vealed that the state bank in­sti­tu­tions came un­der the purview of the Min­is­ter since Septem­ber 2015 after the Gen­eral Elec­tion.

Coun­sel Arul­pra­gasam: Dur­ing your pe­riod, did NSB in­cur a loss? W: I think they haven’t had a loss Coun­sel: Was that a sub­stan­tial profit? W: Yes. Be­cause div­i­dends were at a record level Coun­sel: Were you aware that the Trea­sury Op­er­a­tion Depart­ment at NSB gained prof­its dur­ing this pe­riod? W: I mon­i­tored it over­all. And over­all there was a prof­its. Coun­sel: Do you know NSB dealer Naveen Anu­radha? W: Not per­son­ally Coun­sel: Who ap­pointed him? W: The NSB Chair­man. The bank had asked the CBSL to send an of­fi­cial to NSB and thereby he got ap­pointed. Coun­sel: Would you say Naveen Anu­radha was a good per­former? W: I can’t say about it specif­i­cally.

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