By Ashwin Hemmathagama
Lawmakers yesterday called on the Speaker to ensure all details of the Central Bank’s forensic audit reports are released, after some sections and annexures were found missing in the CD distributed to parliamentarians.
Lawmakers from both sides, bringing the issue to the attention of the Speaker, held the full report should be made available in soft and hard copies without delay.
United National Party (UNP) MP Dr. Harsha de Silva, who collected a copy of the CD containing the forensic report, cautioned the House on the incomplete report. “The CD believed to contain the full report of the forensic audit we collected from the Parliament library lacks the annexures.
So, it is not the full report we found in the CD. It is held that the Central Bank has to seek approval from the Attorney General if the annexures are to be released,” he said.
UNP lawmaker Karunarathna Paranawithana charged the CBSL for trying to cover the financial frauds. “The CBSL is trying to hide something and certain parts are missing in this CD. Certain parts are held back, citing the matters on national economy. But as per the provisions of RTI Act, people do have the right to know the details of matters of national importance. All lawmakers should be given the complete report, and this CD should also be made available on the Parliament website,” he held.
Joining the lawmaker’s complaint of incomplete report, State Minister of Power Mahindananda Aluthgamage held that the Government has no intention of hiding the report or any part of it. “We too agree that the report should be given to all members. We don’t want to stop it. The Speaker has the report and he should not give out parts of the report.”
UNP MP Ravi Karunanayake raised the issue on the number of copies made available in the library. “We were told that there are five copies of this forensic audit report covering 2002 – 2015 period. But no copies are found in the Parliament library. I want a hard copy, but not a soft copy. We need the complete report. We need an investigation launched if certain parts are found missing in the CD, compared with the actual hardcopy,” said MP Karunanayake.
Criticising the Speaker for delaying the Party Leaders’ Meeting to decide the two-day debate over the forensic audit report, JVP lawmaker Anura Kumara Dissanayake held that he has doubts on the possibilities to take the report before the election.
“This report was obtained with difficulty. Speaker held that the report is available in the Parliament library and accessible to all lawmakers. But until this moment the said report is not properly found in the library. One complete report was received at CoPE, and this copy can be placed with protection in the library. Copies can be distributed among lawmakers accordingly. The Parliament will sit only for 6 days in February. I am sure that we will not be able to debate this report, at least in this Parliament. Yesterday I reiterated the need to set dates for two days’ debate having consulted the Party Leaders. Our intention was to have the debate this week on Thursday and Friday. This is a report that exposes the waste of public money held at the Employees Provident Fund,” said MP Dissanayake.
In response, Deputy Speaker Ananda Kumarasiri held that the Party Leaders’ meeting will be held on Friday and the anticipated debate will be held on the first week of February.