The best punishment one can mete out to those who misuse their positions is to strip them of their positions, according to a former stock market regulator.
Aritha Wikramanayake, Partner Nithya Partners and the first Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Director General, speaking at a stock market seminar organised by Transparency International (TI) recently referring to the recent NSB-The Finance Company deal which rocked the Colombo bourse said that 'all' directors of NSB are not fit and proper to hold directorship of any institution. Responding to a question by a participant on whether taking action against the then NSB Chairman, Pradeepa Kariyawasam is 'questionable' as he is the Chief Justice's (CJ) spouse, he said, that 'he has to be thrown out if he has to be thrown out'. "He can be the CJ’s husband or whoever; who cares?”
He also said that the NSB defaulting on their payment has a serious implication on the credibility of the settlement system, adding that reversing the particular transaction didn’t ‘settle’ this issue. He pointed out that offenders in the stock market are treated as heroes or idols by some media organizations and that their work is lauded by some media. "These people are shameless and talk very highly of their deals. They must be dealt with tightly."
United National Party MP, Eran Wickramaratne noted that some of those in higher positions ‘want to make money (in irregular ways) and at the same time be respectable’, advocating naming and shaming the offenders. But lawyer and ex-TI head J C. Weliamuna disagreed, saying that shaming and naming won’t help for shameless people.
JVP Parliamentarian, Sunil Hadunnetti who was a panelist alleged that the average and poor investors in Sri Lanka were suffering because of the unplanned investments by the EPF. “The government has used NSB and EPF money that public has entrusted them with, to manipulate the share market,” he asserted, calling on the government to take on the responsibility for this ‘at least now’. He also alleged that the government has blown the bourse 'balloon style' with monies from EPF belonging to the public.
Mr. Wickramaratne called on the government to publish an articulate statement relating to stock market transactions of state institutions. K. Vignarajah, an independent investor who has raised many issues of governance in the market, also raised many issues, calling for governance and accountability in the market.
He also praised the Business Times for its role in raising stock market issues and others related to corruption.