The Sunday Leader

BoC Deprives The Nation?

by Nirmala Kannangara

Controversy surrounds  how the Bank of Ceylon has deprived the nation of a staggering Rs. 55 million by writing off part of a loan obtained by millionaire businessman Dhammika Perera, who is a close ally of Kurunegala District Parliamentarian, Mahinda Rajapaksa.

Chairman and Board of Directors of Bank of Ceylon has written off Rs.55 million from Vallibel Lanka Shipping (Pvt) Ltd recently and questions have been raised as to on whose direction this special ‘relief’ was granted.

Vallibel Lanka Shipping (Pvt) Ltd obtained a foreign currency loan of US$ 1.6 million during the Rajapaksa regime backed by a vessel as collateral for the facility and the Guarantor for the loan was Vallibel Lanka (Pvt) Ltd. The borrowing company, the collateral assets and the Guarantor Company were all owned by Dhammika Perera. According to the lender – the Bank of Ceylon, the borrower and the collateral property – the vessel both had later become non existing and had to recover the money from the guarantor.

“Since Vallibel Lanka Shipping (Pvt) Ltd and the vessel which was kept as a surety, was non existing, the previous management of the Bank of Ceylon had filed a case against the borrower company Vallibel Lanka Shipping (case no: DDR/ 146/ 2011) and another case against the guarantor company Vallibel Lanka (Pvt) Ltd (case no: DDR/ 00001/ 2012) in the District Court of Colombo to recover the outstanding loan money,” Chairman BoC Ronald Perera told The Sunday Leader.

However, the issue arises as to why the new BoC Board of Directors decided to write off such an enormous amount from the loan and on whose directives. It is surprising as to how the BoC on three occasions had reduced the loan amount wanting the Guarantor Company to settle the amount by a single payment to withdraw the cases pending against the Guarantor Company and borrower company. In a letter dated June 29, 2015 the Assistant General Manager (recovery- Corporate) has written to the Director Vallibel Lanka (Pvt) Ltd informing them that the approval of the Board of Directors has been obtained to accept as Rs.130.151 million as full and final settlement of credit facilities granted to Vallibel Lanka Shipping and if the money is settled by a single payment by July 23, 2015, the bank would withdraw the cases pending in the District Court Colombo.

Two weeks after the said letter, on July 13, 2015 the Assistant General Manager (Recovery Corporate) has once again written  to Vallibel Lanka bringing down the 130.151 million to Rs.80 million- a deduction of Rs.50 million as full and final settlement and to pay the said amount by a single payment on or before July 23, 2015. One week after the second letter, the Assistant General Manager (Recovery Corporate) of Bank of Ceylon once again has written to Vallibel Lanka to state that they have brought the balance of the loan further by Rs.5 million requesting the guarantor company to pay Rs.75 million to settle the loan by a single payment on or before July 22, 2015.

Meanwhile, it is also learnt that the bank is going to recover this Rs.75 million not in US$ but in SL Rupees.

When asked as to why the bank decided to write off such a large amount of money which does not belongs to the bank but to the general public, Chairman Ronal Perera said that since Vallibel Lanka is not the primary borrower and only the guarantor and being a longstanding reliable customer of BoC, the Corporate Management took the decision to write of Rs.55 million.

“This case is pending for more than five years and this will drag on for further few more years. That was why we took this decision,”Perera said. When asked whether the bank will follow the same procedure if an unknown party that does not have any influence too fails to pay back the loan, Perera said that it is up to the Corporate Management Division to take such a decision.

However, Perera was careful enough not tell as to whether the recovery amount was converted into Sri Lankan Rupees based on the current US$ rate or the rate during the time the loan was obtained. “Please ask the General Manager (GM) D.M. Gunasekera for further information as I am not aware of it,” Perera claimed. Although a message was left with the General Manager’s Personal Assistant Rohana Kumara seeking a comment from the GM, the call was not returned until the paper went for publication.

Meanwhile, Minister Kabir Hashim, under whom this bank comes, said that as he was not the subject minister when this decision had taken place is not aware but said as the present minister, he will ask for board meeting papers for the past three months and see as to how this money had been written off. “I will certainly look into this matter and see who has given such order to write of such an enormous amount of public money,” the minister said.

Meanwhile, Finance Minister, Ravi Karunanayake said that he and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe was against the BoC’s decision to write off part of the remaining loan. “We were against this,” Minister Karunanayake said.

18 Comments for “BoC Deprives The Nation?”

  1. EVERGREEN

    Come on Mr. Chairman of BOC if an average man did this will you take the same stance ?? If the borrower is unable to repay the loan, go after his assets and if the assets are not enough to cover the loan then the next option is bankruptcy and a long term jail sentence. This is how the developed world do business. Are you still living in the 1950′s. Without giving lame excuses go after the man and close the chapter. This is not your money, this is the money that belongs to the nation. Do it once to the big boys and all the crooks will be careful thereafter.

  2. srilankan

    All the crooks have been having a whale of a time during the last regime and they appear to have been lavishly supported by the relevant authorities.The assets of the Bank officials too have to be closely probed. In the end the victims of all these robbery are the poor and the innocent sector of the population.

    • Keerthi De Silva

      Concerned Citizen File a court case against the culprit. Please probe who bought the property which formerly housed the Australian High Commission in Sri Lanka which is situated in front of the Colombo Museum.

    • Agree totally with the above comments. This is public money and how can the Board of Directors take a decision to write it off ? The borrower is not bankrupt, in fact, he is one of the richest in this country. He has enough assets and money to even buy up the BOC.. Get him by the “short hairs” and recover every cent due Mr. Chairman, and do not plead ignorance of what has been going on. Do your job with honesty and integrity, or leave. If the was a poor nonderscript man, he would have been hounded and relieved of whatever he had left, and sent to jail for the balance .Interesting to find out on whose instructions this decision was taken to “Write off” ??? The secret will be out soon.

    • PURAVASIYA

      Yes big bugs at the BOC should also be taken into consideration. Its a case of you scratch by back and I will scratch yours. This are not herculian tasks (when today people go to outer space and come back in one piece), get the legal system, frauds bureau and the inland revenue on the job and the people concerned will cough up the money or send them to the government boarding house. Do the crime – do the time. Isn’t Dhamika Perera a casino owner, majority shareholdeer of a few star class hotels, owner of a ceremics factory and a few blocks of prime land. And Ms. Editor how about EXPOSING the Central Bank issue. Get your thinking cap on and find out who lent that kind of money and on what grounds to Arjun Aloysius. We are all watching – not forgotten yet.

  3. KAMAL

    Ravi K and PM take action. Telling your objection is not enough. Public want action against rogues.

  4. laksiri

    question is here how much each person get from this deal???? this is siri lanka do not forget.

  5. gamarala

    The members of both boards should be charged in the Commercial High Court
    for ‘corporate fraud’.

  6. bert

    Detain , prosecute , seize all of his properties. Thats the way to treat these culprits. These guys are a cancer to the society.

  7. Shaul

    Like the proverbial, if a fish begins to rot, it starts from the head. Thus, Alibaba taught his 40 thieves how to embezzle the public funds.

  8. VIP T.Ruth

    Ronal Perera, who the f..k are you to write-off 55 Million from Vallible. Would you do the same honor, If I defaulted to pay back the loan I owe BOC. By the ay I am million times better than the rogue businessman D. Perera Former construction worker; and the mafia casino boss and the great pal of Alibaba the thief MR. But readers pardon me for the four letter word, I have used because it really conveys the scum bags, handling our nation’s affairs. They are holding highest positions in our Banking System, Judiciary System, Security System; all are appointees of the greatest thief MR Alibaba. The bloody Ministers and PM all are washing their hands-off. Because it is the easiest way out of corrupt transactions involving politicians and political stooges such as D. Perera of Vallible. Corrupt political system in Sri Lanka always bred Corrupt politicians and Corrupt Law and Order system to safe guard them.

  9. Reality

    SL can you please publish a list of all Loans written off since Independence by the Bank of Ceylon and the Peoples Bank. Thank you.

  10. carlos

    Why dont all of you who have gone not only bankrupt but also driven to suicide band yourself together and demonstrate in front of the BOC head office to protest against this

  11. These are the people who are inside SEC. Etc trying to manage the finances of the country .
    How can the country go forward without punishing these thieves.
    Poor investors who deposited their life time savings in TFC. were the looses due to corrupt stock brokers under these corrupt managers.
    My father lost his entire life time savings and even though they were informed to investigate these frauds SEC does not take any action to recover money of these poor people
    But they can get away with any fraud sending the country to hell.
    There are lot of TFC investors who have lost their life time savings and there is no investigation or help to recover their money so far.
    There is no one to listen to them
    Former CEO Kamal Yatawara is the culprit who is involved with all these fraud every one knows but no action to punish them and now he is the one who look after the non financial institutions I heard so that he can keep all these corruptions unnoticed.

  12. NAK

    “We were against this,” Minister Karunanayake said.
    So this is done deal,they knew about it ,they were against it but they were helpless to stop it !!! In a few days time like in the central bank case they’ll say there’s noting wrong in it as Dhammika is a good friend.

  13. Mahen

    This is what happens to a country when you have irresponsible people in positions of power. This bank will run after a poor man who took a few thousands as loan and find it difficult to pay back, sending bailiffs after his meagre belongings. Here they are dealing with the richest man in the country and quite ready to write off such a large sum!

  14. Yasin

    This is, call it bureaucratic / corporate, fraud and certainly someone at the top has to answer. They say that the borrowing company was non existent and if that is so how did the bank release the loan funds without any collateral? Obviously some one from the credit or loan department was rewarded to state that the collateral existed in the form of an operating ship and assets of the shipowner.

    This wound is now open and investigators have to find out how it happened.

  15. Malin

    Since of late, BOC has become a talking point for malpractices firstly with the Billions arranged within 10 minutes for a company to buy Central Bank bid bonds and now this write-off loan issue. Have the BOC realised that they are dealing with public funds? Are their any under hand transactions among the top heirachy of BOC? This has to be probed.

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