Deputy Minister Harsha De Silva posting a comment on his Facebook account yesterday said that at no time did any of the members of COPE push the Auditor General to change his findings.
The full post follows:
Notwithstanding the practice of not speaking on matters of COPE until its report is submitted, an exception has to be made, after all what has gone on these last few days.
By staying quiet we were subject to all kinds of wild allegations by those who spoke to the press. I heard tonight that on some TV channels it had been reported we misused our 'power' in the committee to get the Auditor General (AG) to change his recommendations. For the record, yes we discussed and debated several technical issues and recorded matters of disagreement, and sought clarity by asking him several times to add one more sentence to his report to clarify a certain important point, but at no time did any of the members push the AG to change his findings. (Today I spoke to him and he agreed with me that no such thing happened between us.)
Generally, the accusation was the 'UNP members' were hell bent on saying nothing wrong had happened.
The truth is far from it. We, the 'UNP members' agreed with every one of the 14 observations of the AG. We did not agree with all his recommendations in the way they were presented but we went much further than those who got up and left (members of the JO and JVP and some from UPFA) with our own recommendations. It is unfortunate that the usually flexible Chairman didn't stay through to the end.
Now this story in the Daily Mirror is based on the first recommendation made by us; not by those who got up and left. We are the ones who went through para by para and discussed in committee the entire draft with the AG with the honest intention of getting to the bottom of this issue. Not those who used the COPE purely to make political statements.
While I don't plan to go in to technical details of the investigation, one thing I must divulge is that the Central Bank had violated it's own mandate on issuing bonds since January 2009 all the way up to January 2015. Just as nothing during that era was ever investigated this violation too was ignored. Lot more details will come out in the final report.
Await the remaining recommendations dealing with the other characters involved in this matter including the Governor and other senior officials when we meet on Thursday to finalise the report.
Best if we don't make our minds too early based on partial and biased information. I will certainly stand for the truth. That means to do the right thing; not to please anyone or harm anyone for political ends but be just and fair.