Probes will continue, says new SEC chief
Nalaka Godahewa, new chairman of the New Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and also chairman of another company where share trades are being investigated, has assured staff that they have a ‘free hand’ in continuing the probes initiated since 2010.
Dr Godahewa, who took over the chair on Tuesday after two tumultuous terms by Indrani Sugathadasa and Thilak Karunaratne – both quitting due to ‘pressure’, is chairman of the Colombo Land & Development Co (CLDC) in which powerful businessman Dilith Jayaweera has a powerful stake.
The professional marketer, who has come under intense public scrutiny over his business interests and close connections to Mr Jayaweera, is reported to have told staff at the SEC secretariat that he’s a professional and is aware of the line between friendship and work. He had requested Dhammika Perera, SEC Director – Investigations to complete the probes within three months. According to documents submitted by the Independent observers at the stock market had feared that the investigations and probes against some powerful individuals and companies would be swept under the carpet under the new regime. Mr Karunaratne has gone on record saying there was a lot of pressure to stop probes against powerful persons.
Meawhile Dr Godahewa said he would continue as chairman of the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLDA).
List of SEC investigations since 2010:
- Environmental Resources Investments (case compounded, some directors fined and warning letters issued to other directors).
- Sommerville Stockbrokers (case completed: warning letter issued to CEO of the company)
- Probe pertaining to take over of Confifi Hotel Holdings (case closed due to lack of evidence; no action taken)
Suspected Market/Price manipulation and or Insider dealing in shares of:
- MTD Walkers (investment advisor fined and case compounded)
- Nawaloka Hospitals (case closed due in insufficient evidence; no action taken)
- DPL, BLUE, TWOD, GREG (case closed; investment advisors and two investors warned)
- Blue Diamonds Jewellery Worldwide, SMB Leasing PLC (case closed and warnings issued to five investors)
- Watapota Investments (case closed as evidence did not suggest any wrong doing)
- Nation Lanka Finance PLC (the 2010 case was closed due to lack of evidence while a 2011 probe is proceeding)
- Hotel Reefcomber PLC, Alufab PLC, , Colombo Land & Development Co (CLDC), Panasian Power, People’s Merchant, Swarnamahal Financial Services, East West Properties, Mahaweli Reach, ASCOT Holdings, Regnis Lanka, Singer Finance, Radiant Gems, Onally Holdings, Asian Alliance Insurance, Asian Asset Finance, Acme Printing and Packaging, Union Bank and ODEL.
Probe into share trades of:
- The Finance Co through Taprobane Securities
Front-running relating to shares of:
- Colombo Land & Development Co, Ceylon and Foreign Trades PLC, Panasian Power PLC and Watapota Investments
Note: These are cases filed in 2010, 2011 and 2012. Documents in the possession of the Business Times show that some cases have been compounded or closed due to lack of evidence. In the case of others either the investigation is over and further action is awaited, or they are pending.
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