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Harsha welcomes SEC action but says must pursue relentlessly until the mess is cleaned up

Sep 15, 2011 4:24:54 PM - www.ft.lk

UNP MP and Consultant Economist Dr. Harsha de Silva yesterday welcomed the latest bout of regulatory action against market manipulators by the SEC but said it must pursue relentlessly until the “mess” is cleaned up.

“We welcome the decision by SEC to finally initiate action on alleged manipulators at the Colombo Stock Exchange.  We feel that our continuous struggle for greater transparency at the CSE has begun to pay off towards creating a well governed and equitable securities market in Sri Lanka,” Dr. de Silva said in a statement.  Following are excerpts.

It is more than interesting to note from the SEC press release that unusual price movements of Environmental Resource Investment owned Dankotuwa Porcelain and its own ERI warrants have figured prominently in the investigations.  It is ironic that the so called ‘highly respected’ billionaire civil servant Directors of ERI who were entangled in disclosure related securities offenses were spared of criminal prosecution but instead fined as little as Rs 500,000 just last week. It now seems that those offenses may have been just the tip of the iceberg.
As per the SEC statement, we note with regret that the identities of the two investors, five investment advisors and the three stock broking firms who have been found to have manipulated the market during the period of investigation have not been revealed. Unless these names are made public the small investor community will continue to be hood-winked by these bad eggs causing them financial losses. In the interest of greater transparency and good governance we urge that the SEC immediately reveal their identities.
We wish to reiterate to the investing public that the UNP is only seeking to create a level playing field at the CSE for all investors to make an honest profit in a justly regulated market. As a responsible opposition we believe it is our duty to prevent the re-occurrence of all too-well-known financial scams that have wiped off entire savings of thousands of unsuspecting middle class citizens of this country.    

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