While severely criticizing the Central Bank for its handling of the Edirisinghe Trust Investment (ETI) deal, Power, Energy and Business Development Minister Ravi Karunanayaka yesterday vowed to expose what went wrong in the ETI deal.
He questioned the role played by the Central Bank in this highly controversial and suspicious transaction and said if the Central Bank behaved like this how could confidence among investors be strengthened.
He told the media that gangsters of the previous regime who had joined the government were creating problems for the UNP and the government.
“I would like to tell ETI depositors that the government will do the justice to them. I also promise that we are going to expose those involved in this corrupt deal. We will never let this deal affect governance. We discussed the issue at last week’s Economic Policy meeting held at the presidential secretariat. I was surprised to learn the behaviour of the Central Bank in this transaction. It is saying it is right on this matter and keeps issuing misleading statements,” the minister said.
He asked how a foreign buyer was permitted to reduce US$5 million from the initial investment of US$75 million as the buying price.
“How could anyone agree to cut the price quoted in the tender after the tender was offered?. The Central Bank has no right to justify the reduction of US$5 million from the total investment agreed upon before the tender was given. The investors are still to pay US$16 million. No one knows when this US$16 will come,” the minister said.
Ms. Jayanthi, who is the president of the 'Organisation to Protect ETI Depositors' pointed her finger at the Central Bank and said the CB must take the full responsibility for the blunder that has affected thousands of ETI depositors.
She said the CB had not acted properly and diligently in respect of this deal and added some CB officials had been in cahoots with ETI directors to plunder hapless ETI depositors.
Ms. Jayanthi said only 20% had been paid to depositors up to now though the ETI directors and the CB have in many instances said depositors would be paid in full by now. (Sandun A Jayasekera)