Sri Lanka’s Main Opposition, United National Party (UNP) yesterday claimed that the state-controlled pension fund Employees’ Provident Fund’s (EPF) share portfolio at the Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) has made losses to the tune of a staggering Rs.12.2 billion.“The figures are from the list of EPF investments in the CSE as at 20 June 2012 tabled by Sarath Amunugama as a partial response to a question raised by Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremasinghe under Standing Order 23(2) raised on 21 June 2012,” a statement issued by the party said.
It also said that losses made on just the six stocks listed on the Secondary Board of the CSE in violation of its own EPF guideline that investments should be made only on ‘blue chips’, has resulted in a loss of Rs.2.7 billion or 22.5 percent of the total loss.
“Of this amount, the largest losses are from the investments in Laugfs amounting to Rs. 1.8 billion, Vallibel One amounting to Rs.740 million and Lighthouse Hotels amounting to Rs.87 million,” the statement said.“Some of the other massive losses are from the investments in LOLC Rs.1 billion, Browns Rs.945 million, Ceylon Grain Elevators Rs 713 million and Galadari Hotels Rs 470 million,” it added.
The UNP stressed that besides investigating the governance issues alluded to by the global rating agency S&P in issuing a very high risk rating for the entire banking system of the country, it will continue to push for an independent investigation in to the transactions of the entire EPF stock portfolio and thereafter for legal action in the event persons are found to have committed securities fraud.
“In t he meantime we will assert that officials of the EPF Department of the Central Bank be summoned urgently to t he Public Accounts Committee of Parliament to answer queries on alleged improper transactions at the CSE over the last two years and general queries for the last six years,” the statement said.