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Harsha takes SEC to task

National Policies and Economic Affairs State Minister Dr. Harsha de Silva severely criticised the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for its failure to bring to book any of the persons responsible for fraudulent practices at the Colombo Stock Exchange over the past years. The State Minister taking part in the Parliamentary debate on the Demutualization of the Colombo Stock Exchange Bill on Wednesday, pointed out that the SEC has not acted against anybody who engaged in “pump and dump” schemes at the stock market.

“When I was an Opposition Member of Parliament, I persistently spoke in this Parliament as to how the Stock Market was being manipulated through pump and dump schemes. I exposed how the shares bought at Rs 35 were sold to the EPF after boosting the price to Rs 200.

“Now where are those rogues? Not a single culprit has been brought to book.

The investigations were not completed,” Dr de Silva noted.

De Silva said an invisible hand was behind the inaction of SEC. “If those currently holding office at the Commission are unable to complete those investigations and prosecute the culprits, we need to replace them with those who can. We must take legal action against those culprits within the remaining span of this Government,” he stressed. De Silva also castigated the SEC for trying to interfere on Government affairs by using an Asian Development Bank Consultant.

“We are brining legislation to demutualize the stock exchange, but we will do it on our own terms, not on the terms of some consultant who is sitting at the SEC and telling the Government how to run our affairs,” he said.