An overall shuffle of persons and responsibilities had taken place at the Central Bank of Sri Lanka in February 2015.
This was revealed before the Presidential Commission of Inquiry to Investigate and Inquire into the Issuance of Treasury Bonds, today, March 16.
Assistant Governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka and Secretary of the Monetary Board H. A. Karunaratne, appeared before the Commission today, March 16, to provide evidence.
Karunaratne revealed that following the appointment of Arjuna Mahendran to the position of Governor of the Central Bank, the Heads of fourteen departments were transferred during the month of February alone.
Highlighting that this was an unusual practice, Karunaratne also revealed that during the year 2015, more than thirty heads of departments were given transfers adding that, annually around five to six heads of departments were given transfers.
He also revealed that then Governor of the Central Bank Arjuna Mahendran made around 500 staff transfers that year adding that usually only 200 to 300 staff members are given transfers a year.
H. A. Karunaratne opined that the transfers were not necessary and stated that the staff as well as senior officials were not pleased with the transfers.
The Secretary of the Monetary Board added that he expressed his concerns regarding the transfers to Governor Mahendran on several occasions.
The composition of the Monetary Board was also raised at the Commission.
It was revealed that the Monetary Board comprises of five members who are the Governor, the Secretary to the Ministry of Finance and three other appointed members.
After the new government was elected, then Governor of the Central Bank Ajith Nivard Cabraal and two other appointed members namely Neil Umagiliya and Nimal Welgama, had resigned from the Monetary Board.
In addition, for a decision to be made at the Monetary Board a quorum of three is required.
H. A. Karunaratne revealed before the Commission that after Arjuna Mahendran was appointed as the Governor, the members of the Monetary Board were the Governor himself, Secretary to the Ministry of Finance Dr. S. H. Samaratunga and one Mano Ramanathan.
He added that Mahendran was appointed to the Monetary Board for the remainder of Former Governor Cabraal’s tenure and that several months later two others were appointed to the Monetary Board for the remainder of the tenure of the two other appointed members.
Rajapaksa Arachchilage Jayatissa was appointed on the 10th of April 2015, in place of Umagiliya and Prisantha Perera was appointed on the 24th of June 2015 for the period of Welgama.
It was revealed before the Commission that until the appointments of Jayatissa and Perera were made, the Monetary Board only comprised of then Governor Arjuna Mahendran, Dr. S. H. Samaratunga and Mano Ramanathan.