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* Sri Lanka Opposition Leader questions the appointment of a Singapore citizen to head Central Bank
Fri, Mar 20, 2015, 01:30 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Mar 20, Colombo: The Opposition Leader of Sri Lanka MP Nimal Siripala de Silva Thursday moved an adjournment motion on the controversial Treasury bond issue in parliament.

Addressing the parliament, the Opposition Leader said the people have become deeply suspicious over the Rs. 10 billion Treasury bonds issued by the Central Bank last month.

At the Treasury Bond Auction held on 27 February, the 30-year bonds were to be issued at a market rate of 9.5 percent to raise Rs.1 billion. The issue was however closed at 12.5 percent with the Bank accepting Rs.10 billion from Rs. 20.7 billion bids received.

It has been alleged that "insider trading" has taken place in the transaction in which the Central Bank Governor Arjuna Mahendran's son-in-law's firm has been benefited.

MP de Silva said however there is no impartial investigation into the issue.

"We are concerned because so far there has been no attempt to investigate impartially."

The three-member committee appointed by the Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe is led by an attorney-at-law with connections to the United National party, MP de Silva pointed out.

The Opposition Leader raised questions about the appointment of Arjuna Mahendran, who is a Singapore citizen, as the Governor of Central Bank.

"Arjuna Mahendran is a citizen of Singapore, and a Singapore national cannot obtain dual citizenship in another country. If that is the case on what basis did Arjuna Mahendran arrive here," MP de Silva questioned.

"We would like to know on what basis he is residing in Sri Lanka, whether it is a tourist visa or a work permit," he said.

The Opposition Leader said the Prime Minister has engaged in an act that undermines the honor and dignity of the country. "Is this good governance?" he asked.

He urged the government to cancel the controversial bonds which have been already issued and reiterated opposition's call to remove the Central Bank Governor until the investigation is completed.

The Central Bank said Governor Arjuna Mahendran will be on leave in Sri Lanka during the period of inquiry into the 30- Year Treasury Bond issuance.


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