Jan 10, Colombo: Pandemonium broke out in Sri Lanka parliament today when Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe commenced his special address to the parliament on the report of the Presidential Commission of Inquiry into the Bond Issuance of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka.
Speaker Karu Jayasuriya on the request of party leaders has asked the President yesterday (09) to submit the final report of the Presidential Commission of Inquiry (PCoI) into the Bond Issuance of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka prior to the debate in parliament today.
When the Speaker announced that he did not receive the report from the President on Wednesday (January 10), angered joint opposition parliamentarians have protested the Prime Minister's speech and a scuffle between joint opposition MPs and government MPs ensued.
The joint opposition, the TNA and the JVP vehemently protested that the report was not submitted and the tense situation escalated when the Premier started delivering his special statement.
Secretary to the President Austin Fernando has informed the speaker that the report would be handed over on January 17.
When the BBC Sinhala Service questioned the President's Secretary as to why the report was not submitted today, Mr. Fernando said there were several reasons, most importantly lack of time to prepare the copies.
"We received a fax message yesterday (January 09) at 4:25 pm requesting 26 copies of the Bond Commission. We simply could not get 26 copies ready at that time," he explained.
President's Secretary told the BBC Sinhala service that a copy of the bonds commission report, which was handed over to the President on the 30th of December, was submitted to the Attorney General and requested instructions from the AG for further action.
"According to the instructions of the Attorney General, we had to gives copies of the report to several other institutions. Today we handed over the copies of the report to the Governor of the Central bank Dr. Indrajit Coomaraswamy and the Director General of Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption Seth Jayamanna," Mr. Fernando said.
The Secretary to the President said the officials need some time to read the report and submit their recommendations and therefore, he had informed the Speaker's office that the Commission's report will be handed over to Parliament on the 17th.
At the same time, the Speaker has requested the copies of the report of the Presidential Commission which examined serious frauds and corruption during the previous regime, which was submitted to the President on 2nd January. Since the President's Office has no additional copies of the report, Mr. Fernando said he has informed the Speaker it will take some time to provide the copies of the PRECIFAC report to parliament.
The President's Secretary Austin Fernando stressed that there is no intention to "cover up" anything in these reports.