The INSIDER TEAM @ The Ceylon Independent
The duo primarily being investigated in the so-called Bondgate scam Arjun Aloysious and Kasun Palisena were refused bail by the Colombo High Court. Lawyers acting for the duo made a special application but the gamble if it were to be called that, backfired with the Colombo High Court refusing bail. Arjun Aloysious said to be one of the beneficial owners of Perpetual Treasuries via a holding company and the CEO of the company Kasun Palisena had been originally told by the Fort Magistrates Court that they would be remanded until March 15th.
The decision comes against a backdrop of former Governor and Aloysious father-in-law Arjuna Mahendran also not reporting to the CID to give a statement as asked by the same Court. His time ran out on the 8th of March and the CID are now expected to move for the issuance of an international arrest warrant. This is expected to be communicated to Interpol.
In turn that move is expected to hamper Mahendran’s constant travels – he is known to be a frequent traveller making visits to the United Arab Emirates and to the United Kingdom amongst other countries.
In the meantime there has been a growing concern that Bondgate has been swept under the carpet due to the unfortunate incidents that have taken place in various hill country towns.
However sources close to the Attorney General’s department said that nothing could be further from the truth. The AG’s department are focused on bringing closure to a case that they themselves described at the Commission of Inquiry as being ‘probably the largest financial scam to affect Sri Lanka since independence’.
A number of those implicated in the investigation were asked by the CoI to present themselves before the CoI and help with their inquiries. Amongst others, these included Ranil Wickremesinghe (Prime Minister) Ravi Karunanayake (Former Finance Minister & Foreign Minister) Kabeer Hashim (Secretary General UNP) and of course Malik Samarawickrama (Chairman UNP) a long standing confidante and close personal friend of Ranil Wickremesinghe.
With the fullness of time many analysts have stated that the CoI report is substantially detrimental to the UNP and upon closer inspection and seen in the proper context, to the Prime Minister too.
They cite as the most glaring example the Prime Minister’s complete lack of action in ‘doing something, doing something right and necessary at the time’. This was referring to the PM not acting even in the face of overwhelming public and media concern soon after the issuance of a bond for Rs 10 billion, which had been advertised at ten times less – Rs 1 billion.
How that Rs 1 Billion advertised amount turned into a take up based on a much higher rate of interest, ten times greater – Rs 10 Billion – has been at the epi centre of the scandal. Apart from how Mahendran acted outside of the system in place. The CoI said he had acted mala fide to the benefit of Perpetual Treasuries.
The political fallout has also been of huge consequence. The United National Party were roundly routed at the last Local Government Poll resulting in several moves to oust their leader Ranil Wickremesinghe.