Presidential Commission Report on the Treasury Bond: Central Bank mulls foreign experts to probe biggest fraud at EPF | Sunday Observer

Presidential Commission Report on the Treasury Bond: Central Bank mulls foreign experts to probe biggest fraud at EPF

The Central Bank is studying the possibility of securing foreign expertise to conduct a forensic audit following a recommendation of the bond commission which found that the biggest losses to the EPF occurred under the Rajapaksa regime.

Governor Indrajith Coomaraswamy said the Central Bank of Sri Lanka was trying to secure the best possible way of conducting the forensic going back to the period covering 2008 to January 2015 when Mahinda Rajapaksa was toppled at the presidential poll.

“This is a recommendation that was clearly stated in the President’s statement and this was taken up during my meeting with the Prime Minister on Friday,” Coomaraswamy told the Sunday Observer.

“We are currently looking at how best we can carry this out. We need to find out if it’s best to get a foreign party to conduct the forensic audit or if local professionals should do it.”

The three-member presidential commission inquired into the bond sales between 2015 and 2016, but had noted that there were very serious malpractice from 2008 and the Employee Provident Fund (EPF) suffered the biggest losses during that period.

President Maithripala Sirisena has asked the Attorney general’s department to initiate follow up action based on the bond commission’s findings while Prime Minister Wickremesinghe too had asked the AG’s department in December 2016 to take action on the basis of a COPE report.

The Committee On Public Enterprises had also called for further investigations into the transactions of the EPF which is the compulsory savings fund of millions of private sector employees.

Sources at the AG’s department said the 2016 COPE report had been forwarded to the police Criminal Investigations Department for investigations, but noted that the police lacked the technical expertise to carry out a complex financial inquiry.

However, unlike findings of a COPE report, the AG can directly act based on the evidence gathered by a presidential commission. According to the President’s statement on Wednesday, the government is considering bringing in legislative changes to speed up prosecutions of corrupt individuals.

President’s Counsel J. C. Weliamuna said that bond commission had strengthened democracy and good governance in the country. “This is the most transparent and effective commission ever in Sri Lanka. They used technology, supported by the very senior officers of the AG’s department. The government also gave its fullest corporation from Prime Minister downwards and it was also significant as it involved the activities of an ongoing government, and not a former government,” he said.