• Govt. committed to transparency and good governance

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe is prepared to offer clarifications to the Presidential Commission of Inquiry into Central Bank Bond auctions, his office said yesterday.

The Premier is ready at any time should the commissioners require him to respond in view of references to him during the public proceedings, the office said in a brief statement.

“Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe is prepared to offer clarifications at any time to the Presidential Commission of Inquiry into Bond auctions in view of references to him during proceedings,” the statement said.

It said the government was committed to investigate allegations made against it or its employees in line with the mandate received on January 8, 2015 to restore democracy and ensure good governance. Senior members of the Prime Minister’s United National Party (UNP) were told yesterday that he should have an opportunity to respond because his name had been mentioned during the proceedings.

“The PM had welcomed the Presidential Commission because it allowed an in-depth, independent investigation,” a UNP senior who was at the meeting with him yesterday said. “He was keen to have an opportunity to correct the misconceptions.”

The Premier was willing to respond to any questions or clarifications from the commission in view of the testimony already before it, the UNP member said.

Unlike the previous administration, Prime Minister Wickremesinghe stressed that his government had delivered on a promise to fully investigate the Bond sales when concerns were raised.

“The country lost tens of billions of rupees when the Rajapaksa regime bought worthless Greek Bonds,” the Premier recalled.

“The former regime did not even agree to investigate, let alone punish the culprits.”

The Prime Minister said the new government has raised the bar by allowing a truly independent investigation.

“Sri Lanka is a mature democracy now. Those in power can be questioned and held to account,” the Prime Minister had said underling that making the judiciary independent had been a key achievement of his administration.

He also noted how the new government had built confidence in the Judiciary since its lowest point when Mahinda Rajapaksa had a Kangaroo court and sacked the then chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake in January 2013.

As much as the judiciary was undermined by the then government, the Central Bank too was rife with corruption.

The Premier pointed out that one of his first actions since taking office in January 2015 was to insist that Bonds were sold through an auction in line with the new policy of the Unity Government and doing away with the practice of private placement that thrived under Nivard Cabraal’s governorship.

Prime Minister Wickremesinghe said he was looking forward to making the government’s position known to the Presidential Commission and that would set a new example on his administration’s commitment to transparency and good governance.

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