By Chandra Jayaratne
Please reflect for a moment on the oath of office you took in entering Parliament as a member. You swore to uphold the Constitution of Sri Lanka on that occasion. You are aware that by Article 3 of the Constitution, the sovereignty is vested in the people and is inalienable. Sovereignty includes the powers of government, fundamental rights and the franchise.
You are thus duty bound as persons elected by the exercise of the people’s franchise, to function as members of Parliament and safeguard the inalienable sovereignty of the people; govern safeguarding the primary interests of the nation and its people; and safeguard the fundamental rights of the people. This is a supplemented by the social Contract you have entered in to with the people upon your election.In terms of the aforesaid social contract, this appeal humbly requests you to, take a few minutes to reflect and question your conscience (i.e. your moral sense of right and wrong, viewed as acting as a guide to one’s behaviour) before you review, debate and adopt or reject the report (or reports) of the Committee on Public Enterprise (COPE) on the purported bond scams of 2015 and 2016;
1 What is your role as a Member of Parliament?; and what are your responsibilities and accountabilities under the Constitution and the oath of office?; and what do you believe to be the public expectations of you, which you should diligently respect in the review, debate and adoption /rejection of the COPE report?; and should this role be consistent with the aforesaid Social Contract?
2 What level of independence, personal intellectual capability and judgment should you bring in to the review and deliberations of the COPE Report(s) on the
3 Are you bound by the directions of the party whip, the party and its leader’s directions and desires, even if they conflict with your conscience? Or should you exercise your rights as a member of parliament bound by your conscience and the social contract with your voters?
4 Should you accept that your role in the review of the COPE report(s) is not equal to that of the role of a judge or a quasi judicial person, hearing a case? Should you accept that you are merely reviewing facts as presented? And should thus be making an independent and sound judgment based on your determination of the real issues?
5 In reviewing the accompanying Report of the Auditor General should you not, ignore non material errors of computation, non material erroneously stated principles and the estimated value of the purported loss to the state and make your judgment based on a 360 degree overview of the facts taken together?
6 In the above referred to overview of independent facts based determination should you not assess:
a) Whether there is prima facie evidence of a possible loss to the State of significant value?
b) Whether there is prima facie evidence of a possible significant loss to the members of the EPF / ETF and Insurance Corporation?
c) Whether there is a likelihood of insider information, insider dealings or related party transactions having tainted the processes adopted tender awards by the Central Bank?
d) Whether there is likelihood of a possible collusion of state officials ( eg. Central Bank, state banks and EPF) with any of the primary dealers and others, and attempting to engage in a financial fraud or crime of significant value using the auction process?
e) Whether any state officials knowing that a loss to the state may occur in the process allowed these operations to proceed, or they assisted in executing such operations or they failed to take action to prevent any such frauds and losses from happening, and thus complicit in an act of corruption chargeable under Section 70 of the Bribery Act?
f) Whether the Governor of the Central Bank, the Monetary Board, Officials of the Central Bank and officials of the EPF, appear to have failed in their duty, accountability, responsibility and requirement to exercise professional due care and diligence
i) in the performance of their assigned tasks, with integrity and professionalism?
ii) to keep the Monetary Board informed and engaged in the decision making process at each relevant stage?
iii) to look for alternative options before committing to the auction awards and thus prevent or minimize the loss to the state and the members of the EPF?
iv) to exercise due transparency where such transparency could have prevented the purported losses?
v) in taking pro-active change management initiatives, adopting restructured auction management systems, and processes embedded with enhanced controls and compliance measures
vi) since the first reported scam of 2015, by allowing the continuation of losses and leakages in the tender awards which were blatantly tainted by insider information and conflicts of interests?
vii) Ignoring submissions made from time to time by the Superintendent of Public Debt commencing from the tainted bond issue of February 2015?
viii) Ignoring submissions made from time to time by other officials and senior staff members commencing from the tainted bond issue of February 2015?
ix) Not taking timely pro-active response action on the purported report of the on-site inspection team of the Central Bank?
7 Based on your determinations as per 5 above and your commitments in terms of the Social Contract, whether you should advocate that a properly constituted judicial body or a law enforcement authority should be called in to fully investigate and take appropriate action on the purported scams?
8 Should you in addition evaluate;
a) What should have been the expected role of member of COPE in regard to the bond scam review? and validate whether have they diligently discharged their social contract to the voters and citizens as members of COPE?
b) What you believe should have been the end objective of the COPE Report on the bond scam?
c) Whether the COPE as presently constituted and structured, is the best form of determining the truth, ensuring rule of law and justice and ensuring long term best interests of good governance?
d) Whether the outcomes of the COPE report will undermine and permanently damage and devalue the future role, independence, professionalism and regulatory /operational effectiveness of the Office of the Auditor General and the Central Bank
e) Whether the outcomes of the COPE report will undermine the process of investigations in to the current and past acts of corruption, fraud and willful / arrogantly excessive unacceptable actions of top tier management /decision makers in Central Bank, EPF, Insurance Corporation/ETF/NSB, State
f) Whether the outcomes of the COPE report will result in those who unjustly enriched themselves by being directly or indirectly associated with the scams, and causing losses to the state and people, go free whilst the courageous, professional and law abiding officials and whistle blowers will be penalized?
9 How will the outcomes of the COPE report impact on the public image of Government, the Opposition and Governance processes in the medium to
10 What processes in addition to those included in the COPE Report should you recommend to ensure that
a) Persons of integrity, independence, capability and commitment to good governance, with no conflicts of interests and related party interests, are appointed to the Central Bank as the Governor, Monetary Board Members and top management,
b) A transparent market based bond auction systems which minimizes the costs of the State and yield fair market returns to the EPF and other long term investors are in place, along with processes that effectively control conflicts of interests, insider dealings and related party transactions whilst avoiding monopoly/oligopoly-based market opportunities
c) Any under recovery of income tax, Financial VAT and deemed dividend taxes are recovered from Primary dealers
d) Any losses suffered by the State and the EPF etc are restituted via a recovery of proceeds of