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The dramatic bond issue: How COPE went beyond bioscope

The dramatic bond issue: How COPE went beyond bioscope | The Sunday Times Sri Lanka: As criticism against the National Unity Government mounted, Prime Minister Wickremesinghe charged at a news conference on July 7 last year that the Gunasekera document was “illegal and breached the Parliamentary Privileges Act.” He charged that Gunasekera had committed “a major fraud by distributing a document as part of a report.”

The eighth Parliament of Sri Lanka, after the August 2015 parliamentary elections, picked the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna’s (JVP) Sunil Handunetti as the new COPE Chairman. The task of probing the same Central Bank bond issue of February 2015 fell on him and the new members. For 14 long months they deliberated, examined evidence of Central Bank officials, Auditor General Gamini Wijesinghe among many others.

Their report was reaching finality. Tensions began to grow at COPE meetings as leaks in the media highlighted goings on. An internal report of the Central Bank, published in the media, came out with a bombshell stating that Perpetual Treasuries made an after-tax profit of Rs. 5 billion from the bond issues, the one under probe and others. The Bank reacted by trying to find out how its internal report leaked, but the damage was done. There was renewed public agitation to expose those involved.
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