By Shayam Nuwan Ganewatte and Sarath Dharmasena
Top Central Bank official Dr. M. Z. M. Aazim yesterday told the Presidential Commission of Inquiry that Governor Arjuna Mahendran had entered the Public Debt Department on the tenth floor of the CBSL building at 10.45 am on Feb 27, 2015 while an auction of treasury bonds was taking place.
Dr. Aazim was the Additional Superintendent of the Public Debt Department at that time.
In answer to a query from Senior Deputy Solicitor General Priyantha Nawana, Dr Aazim said that during the time he served at the Public Debt Department, Mahendran’s predecessors had never entered that section.
When Supreme Court judge Prasanna S. Jayawardena asked whether a Governor visiting various departments was normal, Dr Aazim said he had not seen a Governor visit the Public Debt Department earlier while an auction was on.
Dr. Aazim said that he couldn’t recall the exact time the Governor had left the Public Debt Department. The top official stressed that the Governor hadn’t been accompanied by any other official. Dr Aazim confirmed reports that the auction had been extended by five more minutes on a request made by a primary dealer though the auction was scheduled to end at 11 am.
Dr Aazim said that the Governor had also entered the office of Superintendent of Public Debt department Deepa Seneviratne and made inquiries about the auction.
Dr Aazim further said that the Governor had insisted that funds required for payments in respect of road development work be raised through the auction though the practice was to use a combination of two methods—auctioning of treasury bonds and direct placements.