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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2344

Actg. Govt Printer says Gazette implicating MR in bond scam printed on instructions of Central Bank

Colombo, 28 February, (Asiantribune.com):

Acting Government Printer Gangani Kalpana Liyanage testifying yesterday informed the Presidential Commission of Inquiry investigating the controversial bond sale that the name of former Finance Minister and President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s had been included in the gazette No 1895/19 relevant for the controversial sale on instructions from the Central Bank.

The said gazette notification in the gazette number 1895/19 issued on 01 January 2015 was recently challenged.

“The gazette notification that was challenged was reserved to be printed on 01.01.2015. However, the Government Printer received the content of the gazette only on November 18, 2016,” the Acting Government Printer said.

Acting Government Printer Gangani Liyanage was testifying before the Presidential Commission of Inquiry to Investigate and Inquire into the Issuance of Treasury Bonds.

PC Yasanta Kodagoda, who led the evidence, questioned Liyanage whether the Reading Room of the Government Printer, did not see the inconsistencies in the gazette.

She admitted that mentioning the name of Rajapaksa as the Minister of Finance in the gazette was a mistake and it had been brought to her notice by an official of the proof-reading division of the government printing department.

Acting Government Printer Liyanage said that after notification, she had instructed her officials to make an inquiry from the Public Dept Department of the Central Bank, about the mentioning of Rajapaksa’s name.

When the inquiry was made, the Central Bank responded that Rajapaksa’s name should be mentioned as the Minister of Finance.

The inquiry had been made from the Public Debt Department by an official by the name of WRJ de Mel and the clarification was made by an official by the name of Wasana, Liyanage said, adding that the Central Bank official was of the opinion that since the number of the particular gazette had been reserved on Jan 01, 2015, when Mahinda Rajapaksa was the Minister of Finance, there was nothing wrong in mentioning his name.

The gazette had been sent for the printing by the Central Bank to the Government Printer on Nov. 17, 2016, and at that time the Finance Minister of the country was Ravi Karunanayke, Liyanage said.

Acting Government Printer Gangani Liyanage was testifying before the Presidential Commission of Inquiry to Investigate and Inquire into the Issuance of Treasury Bonds.

The Acting Government Printer also answered in the affirmative when President’s Counsel, Additional Solicitor General Yasanta Kodagoda questioned her whether she agrees that the validity of a gazette has now dwindled due to the discrepancies in its issuance process.

The Presidential Commission also questioned if it is possible for the public to accept that information and announcements included in gazette notifications to be real time.

“Because anybody who reads this gazette at face level would believe all the information regarding the Treasury Bond issuance is of real time, but truly otherwise,” the Presidential Commission pointed out.

Supreme Court Justice Prasanna Jayawardane asked Liyanage whether it has been the general practice to back date and print a gazette.

Liyanage said it has been the case for a long period of time, and that she has information to prove so, on similar procedures until the year 2012.

Explaining the setting to the challenged gazette notification, Liyanage said even though a certain government institute reserves a date to print a gazette, the Government Printer receives the content for the gazette after a lapse of time from that the reservation has been made.

Justice Prasanna Jayawardane pointed out the Government Printer has not received the gazette content for more than a year.

PC Kodagoda also asked the Acting Government Printer as to why not a copy of an extraordinary gazette not sent to the Department of the National Archives which records the historical details of the country.

PC Kodagoda also pointed out certain footnotes that appears in the gazette published in Sinhala does not appear in English or the Tamil versions.

The Presidential Commission pointed out, in the challenged gazette, there is a marking that appears in the first page foot note as G2457017 (2016/11).

The year and the month included in the brackets indicate the actual date on which the gazette has been printed, it was also pointed out.

Justice K.T. Chitrasiri questioned the Government Printer as to how a Tamil or an English reader could derive this important information, if it is not included in all three languages.

- Asian Tribune -

Acting Government Printer Gangani Liyanage
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