Ms. Shiromi Noel Wickremasinghe

The sister of the former Central Bank governor Ajith Nivard Cabral, Ms Siromi Wickramasinghe last week responded to the assertion made in the leaked draft of the Committee on Public Enterprises Report (published in detail on Page 4) in relation to the February 27, 2015 Treasury Bond auction.

The report had stated that as Ms. Shiromi Noel Wickremasinghe, a sister of the former Governor occupied the position of a director of Perpetual Treasuries (Pvt) Ltd from 23 December 2013 till 09 March 2015, it was observed that there could have been related party transactions in between the Central Bank and of Sri Lanka and Perpetual Treasuries (Pvt) Ltd at that time also.

Ms. Siromi Wickramasinghe sent us the following statement.
“The report as well as the comments made by one or two members of the COPE Investigation Sub-committee have supposedly attempted to draw a nexus of the former Governor of the Central Bank, Ajith Nivard Cabraal to the Bondscam, by stating that Cabraal’s sister, Siromi Wickramasinghe was on the board of Perpetual Treasuries (Pvt) Limited, the primary dealer company owned and controlled by Governor Arjuna Mahendran’s son-in-law, that made the controversial bids for the Treasury bonds on 27th February 2015.

Based upon such premise, the draft Report is also alleged to have observed that “there could have been conflict of interest in the transactions carried out by Perpetual Treasuries (Pvt) Ltd at that time also” ,thereby indirectly suggesting that scams in the nature of the February 2015 bondscam may have taken place during the tenure of office of the former Governor as well.”

“In this regard, the factual position is as follows:  I, Siromi Wickramasinghe, Attorney at law, former Chairperson of the HDFC Bank and former Deputy General Manager of the Hatton National Bank, was never a member of the Board of Directors of Perpetual Treasuries (Pvt) Limited, and had not been involved at all in any transaction or bid that had been made by that company. However, the innocent confusion or deliberate misrepresentation has probably arisen because I served as a member of the Board of Directors of Perpetual Capital Holdings Limited, which is the owning company of Perpetual Treasuries (Pvt) Limited and the other companies within the Perpetual Group.”

“Further, while it is a fact that I was on the Board from 23rd December 2013 until 9th March 2015, the holding company did not hold any board meetings during the above period, consequent to which I have not received ANY monetary or other benefits from the company. Further, I also did not own any shares of the company.”

“In addition, as per a document that has been reportedly submitted at the COPE investigation, other than in just ONE instance where Perpetual Treasuries (Pvt) Limited were allotted Rs 27 million out of bids for Rs.150 million in a Treasury bond auction on 29 September 2014, all other bids submitted by Perpetual Treasuries (Pvt) Limited during the time Ajith Nivard Cabraal served as the Governor, have been REJECTED by the Public Debt Department (PDD) of the Central Bank. This fact undeniably supports the position that there would not have been any connivance between this primary dealer company and the then Governor, through his sister or otherwise.”