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Treasury Bond issue : ‘Palisena instructed PTL Chief dealer Salgado to crash voice logger of call recording system’

Chief Dealer of the Perpetual Treasuries Limited (PTL) Nuwan Salgado yesterday revealed before the Treasury Bond Commission that PTL CEO Kasun Palisena instructed him to crash the voice logger computer of his company’s telephone call recording system.

In the morning session of the commission, PTL IT Executive Sachith Devatantri admitted that he crashed the Acer computer under instructions of PTL Chief Dealer Nuwan Salgado.

Following Devatantri’s testimony, Salgado took to the witness box and unraveled as to from which high rank officer in the PTL he received instructions, which he later on conveyed to Devatantri.

According to Salgado, “himself, Devatantri and Palisena” have decided on crashing the voice logger computer and replacing it with another PC.

According to evidence led before the commission, Devatantri has pointed out to Salgado that deleted data can be recovered, so removing the original computer will be advisable.

When Commissioner P.S. Jayawardena asked the witness if Kasun Palisena would have crashed the computer without informing Arjun Aloysius, Salgado said he was “not sure, but he (Arjun Aloysius) would have known.”

Salgado also disclosed to the Presidential Commission of Inquiry investigating into the Treasury Bond issue, that PTL CEO Kasun Palisena instructed him to listen, identify and delete the call recordings which are “harmful to the interest of the PTL” because they have relevance with Treasury Bond auctions held on March 29, 30 2016 worth around Rs. 40 billion transactions.

Salgado said over 100 calls were deleted in the process.

According to previous evidence led before the PCoI, PTL IT executive Sachit Devatantri deleted telephone calls in PTL call logger system on 6 July 2017 as well, when the Criminal Investigation Department commenced investigations on PTL.

Salgado further said that the instruction to listen and identify the call recordings which were “harmful to the PTL” came in November 2016.

ASG Yasantha Kodagoda: What did Palisena instruct you? You can even keep your hand on the Bible. I have seen you contemplating, which I do not like to see. You have done it with me before as well.

Salgado: Kasun Palisena asked me to delete some call recordings.

ASG: Did you comply?

S: Yes. I listened to calls and marked the index numbers of the relevant calls which I thought were harmful.

Additional Solicitor General Yasantha Kodgoda, who was leading evidence, pointed out the time period sequels to Central Bank beginning investigations regarding the Treasury Bond issue and imposing regulatory measures on the PTL.

Salgado failed to divulge the identities of outside parties who were involved in these deleted conversations. He said some of the deleted telephone conversations were between Kasun Palisena and Arjun Aloysius.

Commissioner Supreme Court Judge P.S.Jayawardena then questioned the witness regarding the telephone conversations that Salgado thought were harmful to the interest of the PTL.

Justice Jayawardena: How long did it take you to identify and delete these calls?

Salgado: I did it continuously.

JJ: Who were these calls with? PTL dealers and?

S: I cannot remember. I listened to many calls.

JJ: What do you mean by a harmful phone call to PTL?

S: Conversations which give an impression that PTL has done something wrong.

JJ: Can you name at least one party?

S: I cannot remember.

JJ: You cannot know. It is difficult for us to believe what you are saying. You consciously decided that these calls were harmful to PTL. Do you think Kasun Palisena did this on his own?

S: I do not know.

JJ: Tell me at least one person who was involved in these conversations.

S: May be Kasun and Arjun Aloysius.

JJ: No, I meant one person outside PTL. Honestly you cannot forget!

Justice Jayawardena then questioned the witness as how to define “harmful” calls.

JJ: I am trying to understand what is meant by harmful. For example, if a conversation indicated that PTL is getting a bargain advantage to PTL and a disadvantage to another party, would you call it harmful?

S: Yes, I would.

JJ: If PTL raise yield rates upwards or downwards and influence the market, would it also be considered harmful to PTL interest?

S: Yes.

JJ: If insider information happens to be in these conversations?

S: Yes.

ASG Kodagoda asked the witness if he has gained anything personal from his involvement in the process of destroying evidence. Salgado denied and said he has not received anything other than his salary and the bonuses.

Justice Jayawardena: Was it the same kind of bonus that other people will generally receive?

Salgado: I am not aware of other people’s bonuses.

ASG Kodagoda: you cannot say you do not know, I showed you some documents. Did you receive any rewards for involving yourself in this case?

S: No I did not.

It was also observed that anybody who has access to the call logger computer, could have deleted telephone call recordings.

Salgado produced four compact disks containing unaltered call recordings from 20 May 2015 to 31 March 2016.

The notes indicating serial numbers relevant to the telephone call records, which were given to Devatantri by Salgado were also marked before the PCoI.

Meanwhile, Salgado apologised to PCoI for misleading the commission. “It was not my personal decision. It came from above me. I did not want to purposely mislead the commission.” He said.

ASG Kodagoda informed Salgado that he is entitled to receive witness protection from the CID, since he has testified against his employer. Counsel for Arjun Aloysius Anuja Premaratne PC and Palisena’s lawyer Kalinga Indatissa PC are to cross examine the witness on Wednesday (06).