The Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) says it will meet Speaker Karu Jayasuriya next week and demand the release of the Central Bank treasury bond scam forensic report to Parliament.
JVP Parliamentarian Bimal Ratnayake told reporters today that the JVP will meet the Speaker on 21 January and make a formal request.
He said that the Speaker has the authority to release the report despite advise issued by the Attorney General not to do so.
The Attorney General had advised Speaker Karu Jayasuriya not to release the Central Bank treasury bond scam forensic report to Parliament since legal proceedings are still underway.
The Attorney General had noted that it is not appropriate to release the forensic report at this time.
The forensic audit report on the Central Bank treasury bond scam was submitted to the Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE) last November.
Then COPE Chairman Sunil Handunetti was to table the report in Parliament but Parliament was prorogued and the COPE committee was automatically dissolved.
The Attorney General had last year opined that the findings in the reports, annexes and exhibits should be treated as having the potential to be evidence in investigations and ongoing and future legal actions and access should be limited to those who have statutory authority to access them while emphasizing that the recipients maintain confidentiality in respect of the contents of the reports in order to avoid any possible prejudicial effect on investigations and ongoing and future litigation.
The Attorney General had further informed that once the reports and related documents have been fully considered, any extracts thereof can be disseminated in the public domain without prejudice to the investigations.
Meanwhile, Transparency International Sri Lanka (TISL) called on the Speaker to disclose to the public and members of parliament, the contents of the forensic audits of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL).
TISL Executive Director Asoka Obeyesekere said, “The dual role of the Attorney General as both legal adviser to the government and public prosecutor raises a potential conflict of interest as a result of a design flaw in the institutional mandate of the Attorney General’s department. Notwithstanding the bona fides of officials in the department, in the case of the release of the forensic audit reports, it is natural for the public to question the role of the Attorney General and whether government interest aligns with the public interest.”
TISL calls on the Speaker to make Parliament’s constitutional duty as overseer of public finance the prime consideration in his determination on the form in which the forensic audit reports will be disclosed.
Obeyesekere added, “the scope of these forensic audits is unprecedented and can provide a cornerstone for addressing long standing mismanagement within public finance. Having spent Rs.900mn of taxpayer money to produce these reports and being mindful of the fact that public scrutiny is a key driver of accountability, the reports should be made available to the public and their elected representatives. The public are the victims of any wrongdoing that may be brought to light by these forensic audits”.
The forensic audits were commissioned by the Monetary Board of the Central Bank.(Colombo Gazette)