Mahapola Trust Fund incurred loss of Rs. 673 million from online lottery – COPE

Tuesday, 12 January 2021

It has been revealed at the Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE) that the Mahapola Higher Education Scholarship Trust Fund had not received Rs. 673 million from the sale of an online lottery of the Mahapola Trust Fund which was sold through another intermediary.

COPE Chairman Prof. Charitha Herath directed Secretary to the Ministry of Trade J.M Bhadrani Jayawardena to inform the Attorney General and refer the matter to the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) for a formal inquiry as this was a large-scale corruption, a statement said.

He made this observation during the COPE met in Parliament on the 8th January. State Ministers Susil Premajayanth, (Dr.) Nalaka Godahewa, Members of Parliament Eran Wickramaratne, Nalin Bandara Jayamaha, Premnath C. Dolawatta and S.M. Marikkar were present at this meeting.

In addition, due to insufficient capital gains on securities transactions of companies under the Mahapola Trust Fund in 2015 and 2016, losses of Rs. 18 million and Rs.102 million have been incurred respectively. It was also revealed that a loss of Rs. 13 million has been incurred during the repurchases made using investments in National Wealth Corporation in 2017. The Committee stressed that these irregularities had caused huge losses to the Fund.

Officials said that the Cabinet had approved the liquidation of these institutions as it was not necessary to continue running at a loss. Commenting on this, COPE Chairman Prof. Charitha Herath said that although it would not be a problem to liquidate after punishing the culprits, it would not be appropriate to liquidate these institutions without proper investigation in the situation of such a large-scale fraud.

Accordingly, after conducting a proper study on the irregularities with regard to the National Wealth Corporation and the National Wealth Securities Corporation, the companies under the Mahapola Trust Fund, both the institutions should be summoned before the COPE as soon as possible and the liquidation should be delayed until these irregularities are properly monitored, the COPE recommended.

The current situation of the Sri Lanka Institute of Information Technology (SLIIT) was also discussed. The committee expressed its displeasure over the fact that even though the Sri Lanka Institute of Information Technology (SLIIT) had been summoned before the Committee it had informed the COPE through Julius & Creasy law firm that it had not been legally obligated to do so. Thus, the COPE decided that Julius & Creasy institute should be summoned first to resolve the matter.

AS