Economic crisis: Patali calls for punitive action against errant politicians, officials

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Parliament disregarded COPE recommendation for PSC

By Shamindra Ferdinando

Eksath Janaraja Peramuna (EJP) leader and SJB MP Patali Champika Ranawaka, MP, has called for the setting up of a special commission to investigate those who bankrupted the economy.  Ranawaka said that those who had served as Finance Ministers, Governors of the Central Bank and members of the Monetary Board should be held accountable. He said so addressing the Colombo District convention of the EJP at the New Town Hall, Colombo on Saturday (01).

MP Ranawaka, who has served as a member of the Cabinet under President Mahinda Rajapaksa and Maithripala Sirisena, accused a group of politicians, officials and influential businessmen of causing the economic ruin. He alleged that the group had caused immense harm to the ordinary people.

When the current economic crisis manifested itself in 2020, Prof. W. D. Lakshman served as Governor of the Central Bank and Mahinda Rajapaksa held the Finance portfolio. The five-member Monetary Board at that time consisted of the then Treasury Secretary S. R. Attygalle, ex-top Central Banker Dr. Ranee Jayamaha, senior Attorney-at- Law Sanjeewa Jayawardena and leading businessman Samantha Kumarasinghe. Jayamaha and Jayawardena remain in the current Monetary Board.

The SLPP brought Basil Rajapaksa into the Cabinet as the Finance Minister in July 2021.Alleging that as many as one million families had been badly affected by the current crisis, MP Ranawaka pointed out that none of those responsible for the crisis had been punished.

Flaying the Wickremesinghe-Rajapaksa government for the unprecedented heavy burden imposed on the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) in terms of the now approved Domestic Debt Optimisation (DDO) programme, Ranawaka claimed such action eroded public confidence in the country’s largest fund.Against the backdrop of growing protests against the newly unveiled social security scheme ‘Aswesuma,’ MP Ranawaka called for a genuine effort to identify those who really needed government assistance.

The EJP leader also explained the ongoing efforts to expeditiously expand the party network over the next few months and to cover the entire Colombo district. Declaring that by September this year the EJP would complete district conventions, the former minister said that the Colombo convention would be followed by meetings in Gampaha and Kandy.

During SLPP National List lawmaker Prof. Chritha Herath’s tenure as the Chairman of COPE (Committee on Public Enterprises), the parliamentary watchdog committee called for a thorough inquiry to identify those responsible for the flawed economic decisions.

In May 2022, COPE recommended that a Special Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) be appointed to probe the reasons for the economic crisis as well as all the officers who had neglected their duties to pave the way for the crisis.

MP Herath is on record as having said that particular COPE meeting decisions taken by a few had negatively impacted the entire country and the investigation needs to be expedited considering the matter as a criminal act. The parliament ignored Prof. Herath’s recommendation and a few months later he was replaced by Dr. Ranjith Bandara.

Courtesy The Island

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Disclaimer: Economic crisis: Patali calls for punitive action against errant politicians, officials - Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not necessarily reflect point-of-view

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