Cabraal corrects and criticises Harsha

Tuesday, 26 September 2023 00:45 –      – 157

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  • Former CBSL Governor says he testified truthfully on causes for bankruptcy before the Parliamentary Select Committee
  • Alleges SJB MP Harsha de Silva trying to browbeat persons who are able to provide accurate account of events

Central Bank former Governor Nivard Cabraal yesterday in a statement corrected and criticised SJB MP Harsha de Silva over the latter’s remarks on the testimony he made on causes for Sri Lanka declaring bankruptcy before the Parliamentary Select Committee last week.

Following is the full statement by Cabraal regarding allegations that certain persons are facing threats due to his evidence before the Parliamentary Select Committee (https://www.ft.lk/top-story/Harsha-slams-Cabraal-for-shifting-blame-on-Treasury-Secy-for-SL-bankruptcy/26-753384):

I have observed that Harsha de Silva MP and certain others seem to be highly agitated in relation to the evidence given by me at the Parliamentary Select Committee to Investigate Causes for the Financial Bankruptcy Announcement.

In that connection, I wish to remind MP Silva and others that, while they arefree to have their own views on the subject, it is my right and responsibility to testify truthfully before the Parliamentary Select Committee, and not be guided by their views or pronouncements. I must also remind MP Silva and others that I have presented my evidence together with detailed facts and figures to support my contentions, and I shall fearlessly do so in the future as well, notwithstanding their vituperative barrage of comments and/or warnings.

I also wish to state that my testimony at the Parliamentary Select Committee is presently available in the Parliament website, and any person could freely access same and ascertain exactly what I have stated. If they do so, it would be clear to them that I have, at no stage, made any threat whatsoever against anyone, but merely referred to persons who have been responsible for certain actions. Please refer: https://parliament.lk/en/business-of-parliament/webcast/committee-live-on-demand.

As I have already pointed out at the Select Committee, MP Silva had also figured prominently in the decision to announce the default on 12 April 2022, as admitted by him in Parliament on 2 September 2022, as follows:

“අලිසබ්රිඇමතිතුමාමේවෙලාවේගරුසභාවේඉන්නනිසාමමමේකියන්නේ. සදුදාදවසකඅලිසබ්රිඇමතිතුමාමටකතාකළා. මමහිතන්නේරෑ 8.00 ටවිතර. එතුමාරෑ 8.00 ටවිතරමටකතාකරලාමටකිව්වා“හර්ෂඅපිටලොකුගණනක්ගෙවන්නතිබෙනවා. බලන්න, අතේසල්ලිනැහැනේ. මේකියපුගණන්නැහැනේ. වියදම්කරන්න”කියලා. පස්සේඅලිසබ්රිඇමතිතුමාටමමකිව්වා, “සබ්රි, ඔයාබලන්නඅපටකොහෙන්හෝඉන්දියාවෙන්හෝකීයක්හරිගන්නපුලුවන්කමක්තිබෙනවාදකියලා. ඩොලර්මිලියන 60 ක්. පොඩිගණනක්නේ. අපිහොයාගනිමු”. කියලා. “සමගිජනබලවේගයේඅපිත්උදව්කරන්නම්”කියලා. මමකිව්වාඅලිසබ්රිඇමතිතුමාටමතකඇති. අපිකිව්වා. “අපිහරිඉන්දියාවටකතාකරන්නම්”කියලා. ඊටපසුවඇමතිතුමාමටදෙවනිපාරත්කතාකළා, රෑ 9.15ටවිතර. කතාකරලාමටකිව්වා, “හර්ෂ, ඩොලර්මිලියන 60ක්නොවෙයි, අපටඩොලර්මිලියනදෙසියගණනක්ගෙවන්නතිබෙනවා, අතේතිබෙන්නේඩොලර්මිලියන 50යි”. කියලා. එතුමාඇහුවා“අපිමොකදකරන්නේ?”කියලා. විවෘතවඑතුමාඇහුවේ. අපටත්පුලුවන්හැමඅවස්ථාවේමඋදව්කරන්නයිඅපිබැලුවේ. ඊටපසුවතමයිඑතුමාජනාධිපතිතුමාඑක්කකතාකරලා, මහබැංකුවේඅධිපතිතුමාඑක්කකතාකරලාඒකටයුත්තකළේ”.

The English translation is as follows:

“I am saying this because Minister Ali Sabry is in the Honourable House at this time. Minister Ali Sabry called me on a Monday. I think it was around 8:00 pm. He called me at around 8:00 pm and said, “Harsha, we have to pay a huge amount. However, we have no money in hand. The stated amounts are not available to spend”. Then I told Minister Ali Sabry, “Sabry, see if we can get some money from India or somewhere else. 60 million dollars is a small amount, no? We’ll find some”. Minister Ali Sabry will also remember my saying, “We, from Samagi Jana Balawegaya will also help”. We said, “We will even talk to India”. After that, the Minister called me a second time, around 9.15 pm. He called and told me, “Harsha, it’s not 60 million dollars, we have to pay around two hundred million dollars, but we have only 50 million dollars in hand”. He then asked, “What shall we do?” He asked that openly. We also tried to help whenever we could. It was only after that, he spoke to the President and the Governor of the Central Bank, and did the deed”.

It is therefore very likely that MP Silva is now attempting to justify his past actions by trying to browbeat persons who are able to provide an accurate account of the events surrounding the announcement of the bankruptcy, which would then show that such “bankruptcy announcement” was done as a part of the massive conspiracy that was perpetrated by several persons and organisations. In that background, I wish to categorically inform MP Silva that I would not be brow-beaten by hollow accusations made by the likes of him, and will continue to expose the wrongdoers who deliberately engineered the organised announcement of bankruptcy of Sri Lanka, which has now plunged the country into a vicious spiral of economic destruction.

I shall also appraise the Honourable Speaker and the Chairman of the Select Committee of this behaviour on the part of MP Silva, in order to protect my right to provide accurate and professional evidence surrounding this matter, without being subjected to attacks from interested parties in the matter under reference.

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