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My contact with Aloysius was to gather information for book on Bond issue- Sujeewa

International Trade State Minister Sujeewa Senasinghe speaking at a media briefing at Sirikotha last morning. Picture by: Roshan Pitipana

International Trade State Minister Sujeewa Senasinghe yesterday defended himself against the aspersions cast on him with regard to several telephone calls he made with Perpetual Treasuries Limited (PTL) owner Arjun Aloysius.

He said he contacted Aloysius solely for the purpose of deriving information to compile the book he did on the Bond issue.

“The Bond issue was a complex subject to understand and we needed to collect all possible information to defend the UNP which was caught in a political web,” Senasinghe said.

Senasinghe made these observations at a media briefing at Sirikotha last morning.

He also made several observations on the COPE inquiry and the Auditor General’s report on the Treasury Bond issue.

Senasinghe speaking of the alleged telephone conversations between him and Aloysius,he challenged the CID to find any “deal” that he and Aloysius has come into.

“I am a lawyer with a good understanding of criminal law. If I really wanted to fix a deal with Aloysius, do you think I would have used my phone to do so. I could have used somebody else’s phone. Of these said 30 or 40 alleged calls that I have made to Aloysius, I challenge the CID to find out a single conversation between us on any so called deal,” he said.

State Minister Senasinghe, displaying his assets declaration to the cameras, requested not to level false allegations against him with regard to corruption. He pointed out that it was he and Minister Ajith P. Perera who included in the COPE report that the conduct of Perpetual Treasuries Limited seems to have been suspicious.

Senasinghe also said that it was he who directed the most number of questions at Aloysius at the COPE inquiry.

Senasinghe also pointed out that there was external pressure against him becoming a COPE subcommittee member which inquired into the Treasury Bond issue.

Senasinghe also said he never contacted Aloysius until the first COPE subcommittee inquiry on the Bond issue was over.

Aloysius was questioned at the first COPE subcommittee inquiry and he was not summoned to testify before the second COPE subcommittee investigating into the Bond issue.

The second COPE subcommittee accepted the evidence recorded by the first COPE subcommittee as part of its own evidence.

Senasinghe also said that most of the investigations against the Treasury Bond issue were exploited to discredit the UNP.

“The Auditor General took that side. The COPE Chairman took the same side. And D.E.W. Gunasekara also took that side,”Senasinghe alleged.

“I could remember how Gunasekara was trying hard to submit the first COPE subcommittee report just prior to the last general election,” Senasinghe said.

Speaking on the same topic, Senasinghe pointed out that the evidence relating to the said telephone conversations were submitted to the Treasury Bond Commission as part of the same political agenda to defame the UNP. “The Commission has pointed out that it cannot accept this evidence since they are outside the mandate. So why bring out such evidence at all?” he questioned.

Senasinghe also questioned as to why all the telephone conversations that Aloysius had with about 41 MPs in Parliament was not put forward at the Commission.

Senasinghe speaking on the Auditor General’s report, said it has an incorrect loss calculation of the questioned Bond issuance on February 27,2015 and further said the Supreme Court has given a ruling to that effect.

Senasinghe also said that the Auditor General prepared a report on the questioned Treasury Bond issuance and said he turned a blind eye towards the findings they forwarded to him on the Bond issue.

Speaking of the COPE inquiry into the Treasury Bond issue, Senasinghe said it is morally incorrect of having MP Sunil Handunnetti as the Chairman of the subcommittee since he had a partial opinion on the subject.

Senasinghe further said that it was Handunnetti who was the first to raise concerns regarding the Treasury Bond issue and pointed out that Handunnetti had a politically driven opinion on the matter.

Thus, Senasinghe said it is incorrect for a Chairman of a Subcommittee to have a biased opinion.