The Speaker yesterday allowed the United National Party (UNP) to move a motion summoning former Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Chairman Thilak Karunaratne to the parliamentary Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE) to obtain details on insider trading in the Colombo Stock Market.
Mr. Karunaratne resigned from his post last Friday saying that pressure from certain quarters was making it difficult for him to function as SEC Chairman.
UNP front-liner Ravi Karunanayake said Mr. Karunaratne had resigned at a time when COPE was examining a number of questionable transactions. The parliamentary standing orders do not provide for the summoning of former and retired heads of state institutions.
He said Mr. Karunatane was prepared to divulge some of these controversial activities and therefore COPE should be given a chance to summon him.
“We know he is ready to speak. Shall I move a motion to be approved by the House enabling him to appear before COPE” Mr. Karunanayake asked.
“You can bring a motion. But, this is not the time. Please move it at the appropriate time,” Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa said.
Meanwhile, the UNP raised concerns over the government’s failure to answer some questions placed on the Order Paper regarding several questionable transactions in the Stock Exchange over a period of one year.
Chief Opposition Whip John Amaratunga, for the fourth time asked details about shares purchased by the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) in Galadari Hotels Lanka PLC, Laugfs Gas PLC and Ceylon Grain Elevators PLC.
The government asked for more time to answer this question.
Chief Government Whip Dinesh Gunawardane who replied on behalf of the government said there was a legal issue involved and the question would be answered once it was solved.
Mr. Karunanayake who expressed dismay over this delay said all such questions regarding controversial investments by the EPF had been unanswered by the government. (Kelum Bandara and Yohan Perera)