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Ranil offers to answer Bond Commission probe

Ranil offers to answer Bond Commission probe

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said yesterday he was ready to offer clarifications to the Presidential Commission of Inquiry into the controversial bond auctions following references made to him during proceedings.

The Prime Minister’s office, issuing a brief statement last night, said he was “prepared to offer clarifications at any time” to the commission, which is investigating Central Bank bond auctions when Arjuna Mahendran was its Governor.

“In line with its January 8, 2015 mandate, the Government will investigate allegations made against it or its employees. The Prime Minister’s office assures the public that the government will carry out its mandate to establish democracy and ensure good governance,” the statement added.

There has been no public announcement from the commission or the Attorney General’s Department expressing a desire to call the Prime Minister as a witness. The Central Bank has been gazetted as a subject under the Prime Minister.

Political sources said at a meeting with his United National Party (UNP) seniors yesterday the Premier had made it clear that he was keen to clarify matters and spell out the Government policy of public auctions instead of private placements in the sale of government bonds.

“The PM said the inquiry is a result of the Government’s commitment to good governance,” a UNP senior who was at the meeting with him yesterday said. “He was keen to use the opportunity to correct misconceptions.”

He also noted that the bond inquiry showed that the country had become a “matured democracy” where state employees are subjected to scrutiny when allegations are made.

The Unity Government led by President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Wickremesinghe took credit for restoring confidence in the Judiciary since its hit rock bottom under the previous administration following the sacking of Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake in January 2013.

(FT)

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