Lakshman Hulugalle, the Director General, Media Centre for National Security has been appointed to the Board of Commercial Bank by the government. In 1989 Hulugalle was given a two year prison sentence suspended for 10 years and has no previous banking experience or professional qualification.
When Central Bank Governor Nivard Cabraal was asked whether a person who had a conviction behind his name, and on the basis of the Central Bank’s fit and proper test, could such a person be appointed to the Board of a Bank, Cabraal said that it was up to the Commercial Bank Board to carry out their own investigations.
Veteran banker and former Hatton National Bank (HNB) Chairman Rienzie T. Wijetilleke said that ipso facto as per the “fit and proper” test for bank directors, no one with a conviction could serve on a bank’s directorate. He said that the usual procedure is that when a person is nominated to a bank board, the clearance of the Monetary Board has to be obtained whether such a person could serve on the Board. In 1989, Lakshman Hulugalle was found guilty by the Colombo High Court for stealing Rs. 90,000 worth of timber. He pleaded guilty the following year and was sentenced to two years imprisonment suspended for 10 years and fined Rs. 20,000.
Hulugalle however maintains that he was politically “framed” by the late President R. Premadasa