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Mahinda vows legal action over gazette on the bond sale

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The false gazette on the bond sale is an attempt to mislead the public and palm off the Yahapalana government’s crooked bond issues on me and my government, former President Mahinda Rajapaksa said. 

In a statement on Sunday, Rajapaksa added that “I will be taking legal action in this regard.”

Full statement:

It is with regret that I inform the public of a diabolical attempt by the yahapalana authorities to foist the blame for the Central Bank bond scam on my government. The established practice in relation to government finance is that towards the third week of each month or even earlier, the Treasury determines the financial needs of the government for the coming month and informs the Public Debt Department which functions under the Central Bank that a certain amount of money is required by a certain date. The Public Debt Dept. then takes steps to borrow the required amount from the market by issuing the appropriate instruments such as Treasury Bills and Treasury Bonds. The Gazette notifications relating to such bond issues are published only after the transactions have been completed. The reason for this is that until the transaction is complete no one will know its final details because many variables are determined by the market.

For example, when bids are called for a bond issue at a certain interest rate, all the bids received may end up being rejected. Furthermore, the bids may exceed the amount of bonds offered and then the Public Debt Dept. will have to decide how much to accept. Since none of these factors can be known beforehand, the Gazette notification relating to a bond issue is issued only after the entire transaction has been completed. The great Central Bank bond scam began with the bond auction of  27 February 2015. What happened in this instance was that following the usual practice, on or around 20 February 2015 the Treasury informed the Public Debt Department that the government would need Rs. 13.5 billion by 2 March 2015. The Public Debt Department was able to raise about Rs. 3 billion immediately but needed another Rs. 10.5 billion.  They called for bids for Rs. one billion worth of 30 year bonds with a face value interest rate of 12.50%. Bids amounting to Rs. 20 billion were received and a little over Rs. 10 billion was accepted.

How this particular bond issue became a major scam is well known and need not concern us here. The issue at hand is that the yahapalana government has tried to foist the entire responsibility for this bond issue on me through the extraordinary Gazette No: 1895/19 dated  01 January 2015. This Gazette contains details of bond issues going back to 2011 and in the midst of this, the bond issues made during the year 2015 on 1 March, 15 March, 1 May, 15 May,1 August and 15 December have also been gazetted under my name. Through such devious means they are attempting to suggest that I issued a Gazette notification on 1 January 2015 in relation to a transaction that took place about seven weeks after a new President and a new finance minister had assumed office.

It is obvious that I could not possibly have known back on 1 January 2015 that the Treasury will need Rs. 13.5 billion on 2 March 2015, that the Public Debt Department would call for bids for Rs. one billion in 30 year bonds at the face value rate of 12.50%, and that they would receive Rs. 20 billion in bids of which Rs.10 billion would be accepted. As I pointed out earlier, Gazette notifications relating to bond issues are published only after the transaction not before it. Even though Gazette No: 1895/19 bears the date 01 January 2015, it is clear that it has been published long after that date.  The small print on the Sinhala version of the Gazette seems to indicate that it was actually printed only in November 2016. Therefore, I see this as a diabolical attempt to mislead the public and palm off the yahapalana government’s crooked bond issues on me and my government. I will be taking legal action in this regard.

Lankan student in Wales, refused asylum to be deported

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A Bangor University student in North Wales could be deported to Sri Lanka just three months before completing her Electrical Engineering degree, Wales online reported today. Shiromini Satgunaraja, who is predicted to graduate with a First Class Honours, has been refused asylum. NUS Wales explained that Shiromini first arrived in the United Kingdom in 2011. She and her mother were granted Discretionary Leave to Remain while she completed her GCSEs after her father passed away. 

Further Leave to Remain was then granted on appeal which enabled Shiromini to complete her A Levels and start a university course. When that expired, further grants of Leave to Remain and of asylum were denied, but Shiromini has been allowed to remain in the United Kingdom to continue her university course while appealing. A member of the family explained that the mother and daughter were arrested shortly after their visa applications were rejected.

 “They got arrested on February 21 because their visas were rejected,” the family member explained. “They were at the police station until roughly 6pm on Thursday. They then got taken to Yarlswood Detention Centre. “We don’t know how what will happen next but I know flights have been booked for them to go back to Sri Lanka at 9pm on February 28.” 

But their family are concerned they will not settle in Sri Lanka. “She was studying her third year at university and she was progressing well,” the family member added. “She achieved 82% last semester and was expected to achieve a first in her degree. She doesn’t really know anything about Sri Lanka. “They could at least let her stay to finish her degree otherwise her two years of studying will go wasted. “Her dad was a maths teacher so she’s always been very interested in learning.” NUS Wales Deputy President, Carmen Smith, and Undeb Bangor Students’ Union Vice President Education and Welfare, Helen Marchant, have written to the Home Secretary, Amber Rudd MP, to request that she use her discretionary power to stop the deportation. In their letter, Ms Smith and Ms Marchant said: “We remind you, Home Secetary, that Shiromini has lived in and contributed to the United Kingdom since 2011, yet she is still only 20 years old. 

“It is our belief that it would be particularly callous to remove her to a country where she has no social or cultural ties, at an age where it is generally accepted that if she were a British national, she would still be able to live at home with her mother. “We also remind you of the value that Shiromini can bring to her local community and to the United Kingdom. We know that the United Kingdom is experiencing a concerning skills gap in STEM subjects. 

“As Home Secretary, you have the power to intervene. We request that you act urgently over the weekend to stop the deportation of Shiromini and her mother.” Hywel Williams MP added: “Sri Lanka is still a very dangerous place and Shiromini has had no real ties with the country since she was a child. “Her imminent deportation is not only unjust and unfair but will deprive Wales and indeed the UK economy of the contribution she will make. 

“She would be an asset to this country at a time when we may be facing severe shortages of highly-skilled and educated specialists. “This makes no humanitarian sense and no sense at all in terms of the business needs of our country.” 

A Home Office spokesman said it does not routinely comment on individual cases, but he also said the UK has a proud history of granting asylum to those who genuinely need it. The Home Office assured that every case is “carefully considered” on its individual merits, and refuge is granted where people establish “a genuine need for protection or a well founded fear of persecution”. Shiromini’s family have now set up a campaign on social media to fight for her right to stay in the UK. 

Former President says the current government is re-implementing the same projects

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Former president Mahinda Rajapaksa says that the current government which ridiculed the development projects which he commenced has been re-implementing the same projects.

He was speaking at a religious ceremony held at Koswatta in Battaramulla yesterday.

Ranjan Ramanayake asked to apologise to Div. Sec.

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As a protest against Deputy Minister Ranjan Ramanayake’s verbally abusing the Divulapitiya Divisional Secretary in public recently, the Gampaha District Administrative Services Association (GDASA) decided to boycott their official duties on Monday.

They demanded the withdrawal of the malicious statement allegedly made by the Deputy Minister. The Association's Vice President and Secretary has written to the President, Prime Minister, Speaker and Public Administration and Home Affairs Minister with copies to the Ministry Secretaries, District Secretaries and heads of all public institutions in the Gampaha District.

According to reports, during a public protest at Ihala Madampella in the Divulapitiya Divisional Secretariat against soil excavation, Deputy Minister Ranjan Ramanayake who had arrived at the scene had spoken to the Divulapitiya Divisional Secretary in very harsh language, making malicious allegations accusing her, using his mobile phone and activating the loud speaker system as well.

The Association said the Deputy Minister had undermined the entire public service and demanded that he publicly apologises to the Secretary and would keep away from duty on Monday in case he does not do so.

Hambantota protesters re-remanded

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Hambantota Chief Magistrate ordered that the 24 protesters from Mirijjawila to be further remanded until January 30th.

They were arrested for violating a Court injunction to engage in the protest during the inaugural day of the China Sri Lanka Industrial Zone on January 7th.

At the same time, Hambantota Chief Magistrate Manjula Karunarathna ordered the release of another 10 protesters on a surety bail of 500,000 rupees each.

Meanwhile, an additional 4 suspects who engaged in protests disregarding the Court injunction at Mirijjawila were arrested last night.

Ranil should not intervene in Weerawansa's case - Ranjan

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The Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe should not heed to any request from anyone to intervene in the case of Joint Opposition MP Wimal Weerawansa who was arrested, Deputy Minister Ranjan Ramanayake said on Tuesday.

Mr. Ramanayake told media that the Prime Minister may get phone calls requesting that he should intervene in the case but should not respond to those. 

People of this country expected President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe to be tough leaders such as the current Pilipino President Rodrigo Duterte who push down drug dealers from flying helicopters, but our President and Prime Minister are not that tough and allow legal proceeding to move against wrong doers,” he said.

 “If they act like President Duterte they will have to push down at least 175 members of Parliament out of the total 225 from flying helicopters,” he added. Further he said even those government politicians who are engaged in corruption should be dealt with.

 “The government should deal with corruption in the same way in which late Fidel Castro dealt with Arnaldo Ochoa Sanchez who was charged with various crimes and drug smuggling,” Mr Ramanayake added.