By Lakmal Sooriyagoda
A lawyer yesterday filed a complaint with the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Sri Lanka (CA Sri Lanka) against former Central Bank Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal, urging the accountancy body to deregister Cabraal from his membership under of Section 16 of the Institute of Chartered Accountants Act. No. 23 of 1959.
In his complaint, lawyer Mahesh Parakrama asked CA Sri Lanka to immediately carry out a proper investigation into the conduct of Ajith Nivard Cabraal.
Ajith Nivard Cabraal, Chartered Accountant and Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Sri Lanka, has been named as a defendant in this complaint. Cabraal served as Governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) from July 2006 to January 2015 and from September 15, 2021 to April 4, 2022. He also served as Advisor to the Prime Minister for Economic Affairs from November 2019 to August 2020.
Furthermore, he was appointed MP on the national list representing Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) and later sworn in as Minister of State for Finance.
The plaintiff alleged that Cabraal was involved in several questionable and damaging transactions affecting the economy and financial stability of Sri Lanka, including the investment of Employees Provident Fund (EPF) funds in Greek bonds and the agreement dubious hedging that took place in or around 2008. The plaintiff further alleged that Cabraal acted in complete disregard of the continuous warnings issued by international agencies from mid-2020 about the possibility of default. from Sri Lanka if the necessary mitigating and preventive measures were not taken by the Central Bank. “In managing the foreign exchange reserves of the CBSL, Cabraal, as governor of the CBSL, decided to artificially maintain the exchange rate, causing serious loss and damage to the foreign reserves of the CBSL and damaging confidence and the reliability of migrant workers and investors with respect to the financial system of Sri Lanka,” the complainant alleged.
The lawyer complained that a person who has basic knowledge of economics and accounting will not approve of such actions or decisions which are in complete violation of the basic principles of finance, economics and accountability. “It is understood in the public that the said actions or decisions provided by the said Chartered Accountant and your member, Cabraal, have led to the current economic crisis plaguing Sri Lanka. As a result of the said poor decision making by your member Cabraal , Sri Lanka has faced the worst economic crisis in its history and people have lost lives, jobs, good health and education,” the complainant said.
He also noted that “due to his professional qualifications as a chartered accountant and a member of your esteemed institute, Cabraal is capable of occupying high positions concerning economic and financial management, stability and control of the economy. from Sri Lanka. Hence, he was appointed and placed in the said high positions by spending public funds among others paid by the taxpayers of Sri Lanka to pay for his salaries and other benefits and privileges. The complainant added that Cabraal is clearly not fit to give professional advice as a chartered accountant and therefore it is essential that he be prevented from giving professional advice as a chartered accountant in the future to avoid that similar catastrophic results be experienced by parties who have received such professional advice from him.
Complainant requests CA Sri Lanka to conduct a proper investigation under Section 17 of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Sri Lanka Act No. 23 of 1959, to determine that Ajith Nivard Cabraal is at fault professional and is not fit to be a member of the Sri Lanka Board.