“Suffice it to say that COPE report was written by the staff at the COPE and not by me. I helped them to check on technical accuracy in the report, which was a must given the complexity of the subject involved. I was one of the vocal critics of the wrong economic policies of the previous government as an independent analyst. One may just go to the archives of Colombo Telegraph and Daily FT to verify this fact.” Dr. W A Wijewardena, the former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka, told Colombo Telegraph.
The former Deputy Justice Minister, Colombo District UNP MP and COPE member, Sujeewa Senasinghe, in a scathing attack, has alleged that the former Central Bank Governor Ajit Nivard Cabraal and Deputy Governor WA Wijewardena had drafted the contents of the COPE Report on the now infamous Treasury Bond scandal.
Responding to a query made by Colombo Telegraph regarding the allegation leveled against him, Dr. Wijewardena said; “The actual fact was that the new government approached me first on January 9 itself before full election results had been out when they were searching for a person to head Central Bank as its Governor and the former Deputy Minister would not have been privy to that information. I politely declined since I didn’t have intention to return to a government career since it would have compromised with my independence as an economic analyst. In this capacity, I provided my service to many authorities of the new government as a consultant free-of-charge including the Ministry of Economic Affairs in the preparation of a comprehensive economic plan which Dr Harsha de Silva too had acknowledged in a public event relating to CIMA as had been reported by Daily Mirror.
“When I was requested by Secretary, Ministry of Economic Affairs on instructions from the Prime Minister to assist the Pitipana Committee, I did so willingly because I thought that it was my duty by the country. When the Committee wanted to pay me, I declined and provided my expert services free-of-charge.
“The same issue had arisen in the case of COPE Sub Committee too because the members had not been conversant with the complex matters involved in bond dealings, and could not proceed with the inquiry without guidance of expert advice. Enlisting such expert advice is the normal situation in Legislative inquiries including the US Congress since legislators are not supposed to be technically literate on every matter. The members of COPE Sub Committee appreciated my clarification of many technical issues that had come to light in the course of their inquiry. The former Deputy Minister was a member of the Committee and he would have protested at that time if he felt that the advice was biased. My services are not free as an international consultant, but I served the COPE without asking for any remuneration.
“It is sad that political expediency has driven a Deputy Minister representing a government standing for good governance to such a low level. It appears that the members of the good governance government too need tuition on what is meant by good governance.”
Meanwhile, one of the 13-member Special Parliamentary Investigation Committee that probed the alleged insider trading and favoritism in the recent treasury bond issue, former State Minister of Education and the leader of the Liberal party of Sri Lanka, Prof. Rajiva Wijesinha said,“The UNP seems to have gone completely mad in trying to escape from its guilt over the Central Bank Bond scam. Sujeewa Senasinghe claims that the COPE Report was written by former Governor Nivard Cabraal and former Deputy Governor WA Wijewardena, whereas the latter has often been critical of the former in his writings. I believe they have different views of the role of the state, with the Deputy Governor less inclined to intervention. But even he, when he appeared before us as an expert, pointed out that you could not rely wholly on auctions, because using Direct Placements was necessary to discipline the market.
“Except practitioners of what used to be termed voodoo economics, we all understand that pure market mechanisms do not work. It is not the business of government to sit back and allow the weakest to go to the wall. The fact that Wijewardena appreciates this, and said as much when he appeared before the COPE should not lead Sujeeva to fling mud and claim collusion, he further said
The Colombo Telegraph