Friday, 21 August 2020
Identify him as mentor, beacon of professionalism in State and corporate governance
“We have already identified people’s problems,” says Cabraal
New State Minister for Finance to launch a Sinhala version of his book soon
As a prequel to the launch of his book about the bond scam cover-up in Sinhalese, State Minister for Finance, Capital Market and State Enterprise Reform Ajith Nivard Cabraal in a recent wide-ranging interview gave his views on the tasks at hand for the new Government in handling the economy and the current situation in the country. He was speaking to a delegation, including the President and Fellows of the Institute of Chartered Accountants, who expressed their support for him, a fellow Chartered accountant, in his future endeavours in the legislative body. Cabraal was also President of ICA and the South Asian Federation of Accountants. Cabraal said that the SLPP was a party that had already identified the people’s pressing needs and issues and were not ‘suppliers of jokes and tall stories’ as the past “so-called Yahapalana” regime was. He said that the Yahapalana period could now be seen as an asset for the new Government’s project, because the people had given value to what he and the Government of the day did for a “Suba Anagathayak” — prosperous future — prior to 2015, by contrasting that time with what the failed Yahapalana did. Cabraal in the context of the book launch in particular stated that the JVP or many of the others who were slandering him on the pre-2015 bond issues in the Central Bank (CBSL) and other matters concerning his time at the helm of the bank were unable to meet him and ask him any real questions based on the allegations they made. He said that he had always been in the country and had gone nowhere into hiding, but still found that those who point their fingers were unable to come up with even one credible allegation that he was unable to answer to or disprove. On the contrary, he said the people who come up to him at various forums and meetings were telling him that they now had a better appreciation of what the Central Bank did in his tenure during the Suba Anagathayak regime, in contrast to what the Central Bank was up to in the tenure of the “disastrous Yahapalanaya Government”. “The people tell me that the rupee was doing better, that the interest rates were much more positive to economic growth, etc., than in the Yahapalana interregnum,” he said. A Sinhala translation of the book ‘The Bond Scam Cover Up — the Mother of all Cover Ups’ will be launched soon. Among other things, the book exposes how the so-called forensic audit was commissioned by the perpetrators of the scam as yet another ‘investigation’ that was aimed at exonerating the same perpetrators of the scam. Moreover, the so-called forensic audit set back the Sri Lankan taxpayer by a staggering Rs. 1500 million. Certain Assistant Governors of the CBSL aligned to the former Premier assisted in the task of trying to obfuscate the issue and attempted to lay blame for imagined failures of the CBSL on former Governor Cabraal. Almost all members of the former Monetary Board are compromised and may in some way be involved with the cover up of the bond scam, by acts such as commissioning the so-called forensic audit, the author writes. Cabraal has some choice words for the so-called Bond Commission as well, and states that its members denigrated officers of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka, when they had in fact been whistleblowers who protested vehemently and wrote copious reports, all in a vain attempt to ensure that the bond scam did not take place, or was covered-up. Minister Cabraal in no uncertain terms explains why all actors who were part of the scam should be brought to book, and not just those of Perpetual Treasuries. He also stated unequivocally that monies embezzled should be recovered. Cabraal is a Past President of CA Sri Lanka and South Asian Federation of Accountants (SAFA) and has been an active member of the Confederation of Asia Pacific Accountants (CAPA), International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) and The Organization of Professional Accountants Sri Lanka (OPA). He was the pioneer in all corporate governance initiatives in Sri Lanka and State sector initiatives too. CA Sri Lanka is the leading body of professional accountants in Sri Lanka, a member of SAFA, CAPA and IFAC. In its capacity as the national professional accountancy organisation, CA Sri Lanka continuously focuses on enhancing the professional skills of its members, and ensuring that they continue to play a significant role in partnering businesses and the State sector. The organisation thereby contributes to the success of the profession as well as the public, private and State sectors, and strengthens the national economy of Sri Lanka.