Probe into country’s bankruptcy: Ex-COPE Chief going ahead with own inquiry

Spread the love

‘PSC appointed by Speaker irrelevant’

By Shamindra Ferdinando

Rebel SLPP lawmaker and former Chairman of Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE) Prof. Charitha Herath, on Tuesday (11) declared that he would lead a thorough inquiry into the economic crisis, regardless of the probe announced by SJB leader Sajith Premadasa.

Pointing out that the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC), headed by SLPP General Secretary Sagara Kariyawasam that had been appointed by Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena to investigate the crisis didn’t find favour with the Opposition, Prof. Herath vowed to finalise his inquiry within three months. As stressed by Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa at a meeting with senior party representatives, the Opposition could go ahead with its investigation, Prof. Herath said.

The PSC named by Speaker Abeywardena consisted of SLPP MPs Sagara Kariyawasam, Pavithra Devi Wanniarachchi, D.V. Chanaka, Mahindananda Aluthgamage, Jayantha Ketagoda, Pradeep Undugoda, Sanjeewa Edirimanna, Nalaka Bandara Kottegoda and Prof. Ranjith Bandara, Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) MPs Eran Wickramaratne, Ashok Abeysinghe and Harshana Rajakaruna, National People’s Power (NPP) MP Vijitha Herath, and Tamil National Alliance (TNA) MP Shanakiyan Rasamanickam.

Addressing the media at Nidahasa Janatha Sabhawa Office, at Nawala, Prof. Herath explained the need to investigate the period from 2010 with the focus on the Mahinda Rajapaksa government (2010-2014), the Maithripala Sirisena-Ranil Wickremesinghe administration (2015-2019) and the Gotabaya Rajapaksa administration (2019-April 2022).

Prof. Herath said that Speaker Abeywardena ridiculed Parliament by naming a PSC that only represented the interests of the SLPP. Therefore, the Opposition had no option but to quit that PSC, thereby rendering it useless, Prof. Herath said.

The new entrant to parliament told The Island as the Chairman of the parliamentary watchdog committee COPE that called for the setting up of a PSC in early July last year to investigate the economic crisis, he strongly felt the country couldn’t move an inch until those responsible for economic ruin were identified.

Herath said his inquiry would pay special attention to Sri Lanka’s entry into the Sovereign Bond market in 2008, the year before the armed forces brought the war against the LTTE to a successful conclusion.

The MP explained that he intended to investigate the allegations directed at the Mahinda Rajapaksa administration that the country suffered as a result of imprudent investments on major infrastructure projects. President Mahinda Rajapaksa also served as the finance minister during that period.

The focus of the Yahapalana administration would be on record Sovereign bonds worth USD 12.5 bn taken during that period. Of USD 16 bn, yahapalana rulers took USD 12.5 bn within five years, the MP said. The current main Opposition SJB had been part of the Yahapalana administration.

According to the former COPE Chief, the basis for the inquiry on Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s administration would be the Special Audit report on financial management and public debt control in Sri Lanka (2018-2022).

Post Disclaimer

Disclaimer: Probe into country’s bankruptcy: Ex-COPE Chief going ahead with own inquiry - Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not necessarily reflect point-of-view

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *