‘Central Bank violated law on past issuances of TBs’ | Sunday Observer

‘Central Bank violated law on past issuances of TBs’

The Ministry of Finance yesterday issued a clarification on the controversial gazette notification issued on the 1st of January 2015 on the issuance of Treasury bonds. The contents of this gazette also figured during the inquiry conducted by the Special Presidential Commission on Friday.

The Ministry statement:

This gazette contains authorization given under section 4 of the Registered Stock and Securities Ordinance to raise loans during the year 2015 through issuance of 31 Treasury bonds of different redemption periods at different interest rates at auctions as notified by the Registrar of Public Debt through newspapers.

The bonds stipulated in the gazette include many bonds

issued in the past at various interest rates since 2011 as well as new bonds. There is no indication as to how bonds already issued in the past are issued again in 2015. It appears that the Gazette authorizes the past bonds also. As per the gazette, loans will be raised through those bonds within the sum of Rupees one thousand seven hundred and eighty billion authorized in the Appropriation Act, No. 41 of 2014. The practice that has been followed in the past by the Central Bank is to issue this gazette back-dated as January 1 each year after issuing all bonds during the year in a hidden attempt to comply with the requirement of the Section 4 of the Registered Stock and Securities Ordinance while mismanaging bond issuances. When issuing this gazette, the required protocol has not been followed. With regard to issuance of a gazette by any Minister, the relevant institution should send the draft to the Secretary of the line Ministry. The Secretary then obtains the legal and technical clearance from the relevant officials in the Ministry and submits the gazette for the signature of the Minister. Only after the Minister’s signature, the gazette is sent to the Government Printer to publish. The Central Bank has not followed this procedure on this gazette in the recent past. Instead, the Superintendent of the Public Debt Department has directly sent it to the Government Printer after getting the legal clearance from the Central Bank lawyers. Information is available that the gazette dated 1 January 2016 to be published by the name of Ravi Karunanayake, Minister of Finance, for the year 2016 also has already been sent to the Government Printer same way in 2017. The publication of this gazette was immediately withheld. As such, all Treasury bonds have been issued in violation of the provisions of the Registered Stock and Securities Ordinance. This is how the Central Bank officers, so called experts and professionals, mismanaged public debt to facilitate Mahinda Rajapaksa Government and the Central Bank through questionable private placements of bonds. In such gazettes issued in the past, all private placements were also legalized as issuance at auctions announced by the Registrar of Pubic Debt.

Full report will be issued to the media after investigations and corrective actions will be taken immediately. Appropriate legal actions will be taken against those errant officers under the provisions of the Registered Stock and Securities Ordinance.