A forensic audit of the Bond issue was recommended by Co-cabinet spokesperson Dayasiri Jayasekara yesterday in order to assess the true value of the loss it has had on the economy.

“I stressed on the forensic audit repeatedly during the COPE committee meetings on the bond but it is yet to be done”, Jayasekara said addressing the weekly Cabinet media briefing.

A forensic audit is an examination and evaluation of a firm’s or individual’s financial information and can be conducted in order to prosecute a party for fraud. This is also admissible as evidence in a court of law.

Co-cabinet spokesperson Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne said the findings of the Presidential Commission did not reflect the impact the bond issue had caused on the economy, but instead shed light into phone calls and penthouses.“They should have got foreign experts who specialise in bonds to investigate into it. That report would have been useful,” Senaratne said.

The Bond Commission however, is set to submit its final report on its findings on December 8 and Minister Jayasekara noted that thereafter some of its findings can be directly prosecuted in a High Court or directed to the Commission of Inquiry to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption (CIABOC), once necessary amendments are made.

CIABOC has no legal authority now, to prosecute cases using evidence collected from a Presidential Commission, Jaysekara said. To rectify this issue, he noted that the President had submitted a Cabinet paper on November 7, to amend the laws governing CIABOC to grant it more powers to act.

“We are in the process of amending the law. Once that’s done, the CIABOC can take action regarding corruption and investigate into assets of individuals. This the same issue with cases investigated by PRECIFAC,” Jayasekera said. The PRECIFAC which will wrap up on December 3, has completed investigations into 17 cases of serious fraud and corruption.

As journalists drew attention to members of the eighth Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE) committee in 2016 having exchanged phone calls with Arjun Aloysius, Minister Senaratne stressed that it was natural for COPE members to call Aloysius who had a direct link to their investigations.

“They would have called to clarify things”, the minister said. Jaysekara however explained that he had only had two calls during the eighth COPE sessions with Aloysius and that he had met him once.

“I informed him that I could not help him as he appears guilty in the case”, he said.

He added that he did not feel a need to inform COPE of the meeting or place it on record.

“What is important is that I did not favour Aloysius within COPE. I did not, nor did I ever intend to protect him from the investigations,” Jayasekara said. 

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