Former Central Bank Governor Arjuna Mahendran yesterday(6) told the Presidential Commission of Inquiry that he was unaware but learnt from newspapers that the Bank of Ceylon, People’s Bank and National Savings Bank were instructed to bid with lower interests at the two bond auctions held in March 2016.
During the cross-examination Senior State Counsel Sahida Barriy questioned former Governor Arjun Mahendran over the two meetings summoned by then Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake where he had asked the state bank officers to bid at a lower rate at Treasury Bond auctions with a guarantee that the Central Bank would not accept other bids at a higher yield rate.
Evidence given before the PCoI by witnesses from the BoC, NSB and People’s Bank, it was revealed on October 4, 2017 that former Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake had asked the state banks to bid at lower rates at these two bond auctions. The officers from three state banks revealed that former minister gave assurance that other bids at higher rates would not be accepted. It was revealed that former Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake had held two meetings at the ministry on March 28, 2016, day before the first auction and March 30, 2016, day before the second auction.