United National Parliamentarian and economist Dr. Harsha de Silva releasing a statement said that the alleged misuse of public funds in the controversial The Finance National Savings Bank deal is ‘peanuts', when compared with alleged fraudulent transactions involving the Central Bank managed Employees' Provident Fund (EPF) in the Colombo Stock Exchange, for the last two years.
“As a matter of fact, the EPF has not appeared at the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament since 2006 to provide answers to multiple audit and other queries. The callous disregard for the law, let alone good governance, can no longer be tolerated,” de Silva said.
“It is in this context that we note with absolute displeasure to the government, once again, requesting for time to answer a simple set of questions originally submitted on October 28, 2011,” he added.
One of the questions Parliamentarian de Silva asked the Minister of Finance was whether the Finance Minister was aware that the management activity of the EPF is undertaken by the Monetary Board of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka.
Posing another question de Silva asked whether the fund management of the EPF is conducted at the direction of the Investment Committee, in accordance with the Investment Policy Statement, with the approval of the Monetary Board.
He also queried whether the Investment Committee meets on a regular basis to evaluate the investment proposals presented by the Fund Management Division of the EPF Department and whether the investment decisions are made according to the investment policy of the EPF.
De Silva further asked whether the minutes of the meetings of the Investment Committee for the last two years were tabled. He also asked from the Finance Minister to reveal the names of the members of the EPF’S investment committee and their dates of appointments and the dates the meetings were held, along with members present.
“Article 148 of the Constitution of Sri Lanka gives the Parliament total control of all public finances. As the main opposition, it is our duty therefore to ensure that individuals, however powerful they may be, do not abuse their power in managing public finances.” “It is precisely in this spirit that the UNP was the first to bring to the attention of the Government and the people the fraudulent transaction that the NSB entered into with the loss-making The Finance Company as NSB is the only bank with a full Government guarantee on every cent deposited and the interest earned thereon on every one of the 16.7 million accounts, as a charge on the Consolidated Fund,” de Silva said.