Posts Tagged ‘Net-wealth Corporation Chairma

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Net-wealth Corporation Chairman foolish. Wicrama Weerasooriya බූරු සභාපති හොර තක්කඩියා

Malik Samarawicramaගෙන් හා Dr. Wicrama Weerasooriya

By Uditha Jayasinghe

“Not one cent” of the Mahapola Trust Fund has been misappropriated, insisted International Trade and Development Strategies Minister Malik Samarawickrama yesterday, categorically rejecting allegations by the Joint Opposition that millions of income to the fund has been lost through unethical investments.untitled-1

Money held by the Mahapola Higher Education Scholarship Trust Fund, which is estimated to be about Rs. 10 billion according to Minister Samarawickrama, is managed by the Natwealth Corporation (NWC), which is chaired by Dr. Wickrema Weerasooriya and is a State-owned entity. Funds held by the NWC were in turn invested by its subsidiary Natwealth Securities, which functions as the trading arm of NWC.

Natwealth Securities then invested the funds in a variety of State and non-State instruments including commercial papers, asset backed trust certificates, bonds and treasury bills. The Joint Opposition on Wednesday lodged a complaint with the Bribery and Corruption Commission, alleging that funds given to Natwealth Securities were traded in an unfair manner by companies that employed two sons of Dr. Weerasooriya, at a loss to the Mahapola Trust Fund.

The charge was vehemently denied by Dr. Weerasooriya who has rejected any conflict of interest and called on the Bribery Commission, in writing, to fast track investigations to clear his name. However during Thursday’s press conference he acknowledged that one son was employed with Wealth Trust Securities, which as a primary dealer could have secondary market dealings with Natwealth Securities.

Releasing a list of all non-State investments made by Natwealth Securities yesterday, officials noted that the trading arm dealt with many companies including Rs. 306 m of commercial papers with People’s Merchant Finance, Melsta Regal Finance, and Asset Backed Trust Certificates of Rs. 194.7 m with Peoples Leasing and Finance Plc. The largest component of over Rs. 1 b is in summary debentures, with a slew of top banks and leasing companies including Bank of Ceylon, Commercial Bank, First Capital Holdings, HDFC Bank, LB Finance, Nations Trust, Seylan and Sampath Bank.

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Mahapola is chaired by Chief Justice K. Siripavan and has several top Government members including International Trade and Development Strategies Ministry Secretary, Education and Higher Education Secretaries, noted Minister Samarawickrama, who is also an ex-officio member.

“Natwealth Securities as a primary dealer is regulated and supervised by the Public Debt Department of the Central Bank and its Non-Bank Supervision Department. Both organisations are also audited by Pricewaterhouse Coopers and Ernst and Young, as well as the Government auditors. The Mahapola funds are managed by Natwealth Corporation and they have always been in a Custodian Account of the Bank of Ceylon and the fund amount now stands at about Rs. 8 b, which in 2002 was about Rs.3 b,” Minister Samarawickrama said.

From the Mahapola funds, Natwealth Securities had been given at amount of Rs.300 m to manage, which has presently grown to about Rs. 1b, which the Minister said indicated that the Joint Opposition allegation of a loss of Rs. 1 b was “completely false.” Mahapola fund officials were also at hand to assure that there was no fund shortage and Rs. 1.2 b in payments for 2016 to 47,000 students were almost completed. They also slammed the Joint Opposition for creating doubt in the minds of university students and disparaging the transparency of the fund’s management.

“Natwealth Corporation and Natwealth Securities were established in early 2003. I am the Chairman of Natwealth Corporation but I am in no way involved with Natwealth Securities. My appointment was made in mid-2015 after the new Government came to power and when Mahapola was shifted under Minister Samarawickrama’s portfolio,” a visibly upset and emotional Dr. Weerasooriya told reporters, recounting his Government service record.

Dr. Weerasooriya also heavily criticised the Joint Opposition and warned them that he would continue to fight to clear his reputation. “I am determined to take my good name to my grave,” he said. “After 78 years of service, it is deeply hurtful to me to have such allegations levelled against me,” he added. Both the minister and Dr. Weerasooriya said that they stand ready to respond to the charges and welcomed speedy investigations into the allegations in order to clear their names. They also stressed that the Government at no point would allow Mahapola funds to be mishandled.

 

Clarification: Daily FT wishes to note that in the article titled “Mahapola well-minded says Malik,” published on Thursday, the list of investments given was made by National Wealth Corporation Ltd 

JO accuses Samarawickrama of Mahapola Trust Fund scam


 

Comments /  1179 Views / Thursday, 24 November 2016 00:24


By Chamodi Gunawardana

The Joint Opposition (JO) yesterday lodged a complaint alleging fraud in the Mahapola Trust Fund involving Development Strategies and International Trade Minister Malik Samarawickrama which they claim cost the State a loss of Rs. 1 billion.

Joint Opposition MP Sisira Jayakody lodged complaints both at the Bribery Commission and the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) saying that Samarawickrama was involved in a scam to embezzle Rs. 1 billion.

“The Mahapola Trust Fund, which is worth Rs. 80 billion and assists pupils, was under the Trade Ministry. After Samarawickrama took over the Development Strategies and International Trade Ministry he took over the Mahapola Trust Fund through a special gazette. This was the beginning of the robbery,” he alleged.

Jayakody also claimed that Samarawickrama had violated State economic policies by appointing Wickrama Weerasuriya as a main shareholder in a primary dealing company as the Chairman of National Wealth Corporation Ltd. which is mandated with investing the fund’s money in suitable companies.

“Samarawickrama has no right to appoint such a person who has a connection to primary dealing companies as the Head of State owned the National Wealth Corporation Ltd. It was totally incorrect and it was a conflict of interest,” he said.

On two previous occasions the Joint Opposition levelled corruption allegations against Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake with separate complaints being lodged against each of them. The Joint Opposition promised the public that they would expose the “top ten most corrupt members of this Government” over the coming weeks.

Tracing the trail of transactions involving the National Wealth Corporation, Jayakody alleged that Weerasuriya had invested Rs. 1 billion from the Mahapola Trust Fund in two private companies where his two sons held director posts. Jayakody stated that Weerasuriya was also a shareholder in the same companies.

“After investing Rs. 1 billion, the State-owned company Nat Wealth Securities Ltd., under National Wealth Corporation Ltd., incurred a loss of Rs. 500 million while Weerasuriya’s two sons’ companies gained Rs. 1,000 million from the same deal,” he said.

As the complainant, Jayakody demanded that the Bribery Commission and CID conduct an independent investigation into the matter.

Meanwhile, speaking to the media yesterday, MP Mahindananda Aluthgamage said that the Joint Opposition had collected information on the top 14 corrupt members of the present Government.

“We were searching for the details of the top 10. However, we have uncovered information about another four fraudsters,” he said.

 

 




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