Former Central Bank Governor Arjuna Mahendran spent Rs.66mn of Central Bank funds on 163 occasions during a span of 21 months for his own purposes, Voice against Corruption (VAC) Convener Wasantha Samarasinghe alleged today.
He said his allegations were based on an audit report prepared by the CB's Internal Audit Department and that the money allegedly embezzled was second only to the infamous bond issue, in which Mr. Mahendran is also said to be involved.
“The audit report gives details of Mr. Mahendran’s foreign tours and his credit card bills during his tenure up to August 1, 2016. He has failed to produce valid invoices for the 163 occasions he had either purchased goods for himself or had paid hotel bills. On one occasion he is known to have bought a blazer for Rs.2,000,000,” Mr. Samarasinghe said.
The audit report had found more irregularities with regard to Mr. Mahendran’s expenditure in one instance he had produced two invoices for staying at two separate hotels on the same day.
“Attention had been diverted from Mr. Mahendran’s misuse of funds with the bond issue coming to the forefront. He is friend of the Prime Minister and also works under him. Former Police Special Task Force Chief has been imprisoned on charges of misusing Rs.140,000 and if so Mr. Mahendran should also be put behind bars for a longer period,” he said.
The parliamentary Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE), in its final report on the CB Bond issue held CB's former Governor Arjuna Mahendran directly responsible for the questionable transaction and urged legal action.
Mr. Samarasinghe said the VAC would complain to the Police Financial Crimes Investigation Division (FCID) as well. (Thilanka Kanakarathna)