PBJ - judge,
jury & executioner? - SLIC-PERC issue
A sub-committee of COPE (Committee
on Public Enterprises) last week, summoned officials
from institutions involved in the sale of Sri Lanka
Insurance Corporation (SLIC) for clarification but an
important ‘witness’, Treasury Secretary
Dr. P. B. Jayasundera didn’t turn up. A member
of the sub-committee told The Sunday Times that the
individuals who appeared before them last Wednesday
"were conning to us." and further added that
the answers the committee got were not at all “satisfactory.”
Those who appeared before the committee were Ernst &
Young representatives, Senior Partner of PricewaterhouseCoopers
Aneela De Soysa, PERC Chairman W. M. Bandusena, Director
of Monitoring & Evaluation at PERC E. Arumugam,
and Skills Development Ministry Secretary P.M.G. Premasiri.
The Treasury Secretary had also been
summoned to explain allegations of conflict of interest
for his role in the privatisation of SLIC. Dr Jayasundera
was former Chairman and Senior Advisor of PERC at the
time of the privatisation as well as a Senior Policy
Advisor to Ernst & Young, the auditors for SLIC.
Now it appears as if the Judge, Jury and Executioner
are one and the same as PERC who is investigating the
matter has handed over their findings and recommendations
to the Treasury Secretary for action! "We are just
helping the government," said Bandusena, speaking
to The Sunday Times, a few weeks ago, when asked what
the status of the probe on the SLIC deal was.
"We have made our recommendation
to the Secretary of the Treasury. Now he has to make
the decision." Skill Development Minister Sripathi
Sooriyaarachchi, who is in charge of PERC, told The
Sunday Times in September that the government was planning
to initiate legal action against auditors Ernst &
Young and the consortium on buyers.
Subsequently he too said the matter
had been handed over to the Treasury.
The next course of action the sub
committee will take is to hand over a series of questions
to the Auditor General who on October 27 will meet with
those summoned in an attempt to get some straight answers.
"We are only watchdogs and not bloodhounds,"
said parliamentarian Ravi Karunanayake, a member of
the sub committee. "If there are serious misrepresentations,
then we will take action."