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Trade Finance Association of Bankers holds AGM for year 2021/2022



Left to right (Seated) : Kanchana De Silva (Union Bank of Colombo PLC), Manjula Gunawardana (NDB Bank PLC), Immediate Past President: A. S. M. W. Kumarasiri (People’s Bank), Treasurer – Kasun Muthukuda (Nations Trust Bank PLC), Senior Vice President – Rochelle Fernando (Bank of Ceylon), President - Lawrian Somanader (Commercial Bank of Ceylon PLC), Vice President- Shyam De Silva (Hatton National Bank PLC), Secretary General - K.R. Naguleswaran (DFCC Bank PLC), Gaya Manamperi (Formerly at Sampath Bank PLC) and Assistant Secretary – Indika Liyanage (Pan Asia Banking Corporation PLC). Left to right (Standing): Thilanke Weerasinghe (The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited), Eranda Weerakoon (Doha Bank), Dilan Wijegoonawardena (Seylan Bank PLC), Tharinda Amarasinghe (Sampath Bank PLC), Niranjan Dabare (Deutsche Bank AG), Saroja Pathirana (Sampath Bank PLC), Malithi Maheeka (Cargills Bank), Shehani Peter (Standard Chartered Bank), Neil Handapangoda (Citi Bank N.A.), K K Susantha (Bank of Ceylon) and Susantha Weerasinghe (People’s Bank).

The Trade Finance Association of Bankers (TFAB) held its 24th Annual General Meeting in April, at the Rainbow Room, Grand Oriental Hotel, Colombo following strict health guidelines owing to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Trade Finance Association of Bankers which was formed in 1997, has been actively engaged in imparting knowledge and the required skills to its members who are Trade Practitioners by conducting seminars, lectures, discussions, workshops, trade educational tours and other activities on a wide range of topics relating to International Trade with the assistance of senior bankers who have mastered the subject in our local banks and other resource persons from various trade-related stakeholders. The Premium event of TFAB is Interbank Trade Finance Quiz and Social which promotes Trade Knowledge and Networking among its members.

TFAB provides an environment for Trade Practitioners representing all banks, to facilitate the exchange of views relating to trade, promote consistency in Trade Finance practices and to create the required skill set in the industry in supporting Trade. The membership comprises almost all commercial banks operating in Sri Lanka. The office-bearers of the Association from various banks are elected every year at its AGM. It is really fortunate to see some experienced and knowledgeable prominent veterans in the field of Trade Finance willingly sharing their knowledge and experience with new trade practitioners in all banks. The Association is backed by an Advisory Committee comprising of four senior bankers and past TFAB Presidents A. Kathiravelupillai (Inaugural President of TFAB and Former DGM –International of Bank of Ceylon), Michael Peiris (Former Head of Trade of Union Bank of Colombo PLC), Nilam Jumat (Former AGM – International of Hatton National Bank PLC), and Thushy David (Former Director, Head Global Subsidiary Coverage, Head of Trade and Cash Management Sales of Deutsche Bank), with extensive experience in the International Banking business.

Incumbent President Lawrian Somanader – Chief Manager – Heads the Exports at Commercial Bank of Ceylon PLC was unanimously elected as the President of the Association. He holds a Master of Business Administration from UK. He possesses the ICC’s advanced Trade Finance qualification – Certified Trade Finance Professional (CTFP). He is also a member of the Institute of Bankers of Sri Lanka. He counts over 30 years of banking experience that includes 27 years in International Trade-related services Imports, Exports at Commercial Bank of Ceylon PLC. He also had the opportunity of working at the Corporate Credit banking division and having served in a Branch during his banking career. Mr. Somanader had held many responsible positions in the Trade Finance Association of Bankers such as the Senior Vice President and the Treasurer..

The following members were elected as office-bearers of the Trade Finance Association of Bankers for the year 2021/2022 during the Annual General Meeting.

President – Lawrian Somanader – Chief Manager, Exports, Commercial Bank of Ceylon PLC

Senior Vice President – Rochelle Fernando – Assistant General Manager – Trade Services – Bank of Ceylon

Vice President- Shyam De Silva – Manager Operations – Centralized Trade Processing, Hatton National Bank PLC

Secretary General – K.R. Naguleswaran – Assistant Vice President, Correspondent Banking and Remittances, DFCC Bank PLC

Treasurer – Kasun Muthukuda – Manager – Trade and Supply Chain Finance, Nations Trust Bank PLC

Assistant Secretary – Indika Liyanage – Senior Manager, Trade Services, Pan Asia Banking Corporation PLC

Assistant Treasurer- Kanchana De Silva – Senior Manager – Trade Operations – Union Bank of Colombo PLC,

Council Members: Gaya Manamperi (Formerly at Sampath Bank PLC), Manjula Gunawardana(NDB Bank PLC), Neil Handapangoda (Citi Bank N.A.), Susantha Weerasinghe (People’s Bank), Tharinda Amarasinghe (Sampath Bank PLC), Niranjan Dabare (Deutsche Bank AG), K K Susantha (Bank of Ceylon), Saroja Pathirana (Sampath Bank PLC), Thilanke Weerasinghe (The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited), Dilan Wijegoonawardena (Seylan Bank PLC),Shehani Peter (Standard Chartered Bank), Malithi Maheeka (Cargills Bank), Eranda Weerakoon (Doha Bank)

Immediate Past President: A. S. M. W. Kumarasiri (Assistant General Manager, Trade Finance, People’s Bank)

The newly appointed President delivering his address pointed out the role played by the TFAB to the banking industry during its last 24 years of existence. He further stated that the knowledge imparted by TFAB by way of trade seminars, workshops, quiz competitions, trainings and knowledge forums to its membership was commendable. He also emphasised the importance of the TFAB newsletter as a knowledge sharing source and requested the membership to contribute more articles in order to enhance the number of publications.

He also spoke about such challenges with resilience that the world is going through since 2020 and how the banking industry is taking up that challenge in line with changing regulatory requirements.

Finally, he thanked the previous presidents for their leadership and thanked the membership for electing him to steer the association to greater heights and pledged his commitment towards the betterment of TFAB.

The Secretary General, in his address thanked the membership for the election of the present office-bearers and the council who will steer the objectives of the TFAB in 2021 /2022.

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JVP, too, moves court against deal with US company



By Chitra Weerarathne and A.J.A. Abeynayake

The JVP yesterday (26) filed a writ application in the Court of Appeal requesting it to declare null and void a Cabinet decision to transfer 40 percent of the Yugadanavi Power Plant to US Company, New Fortress Energy Inc.

Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and the Cabinet of Ministers, the Ceylon Electricity Board, West Coast Power (Pvt) Ltd, Lakdanavi Limited, the Monetary Board of the Central Bank, the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation have been named as respondents among 43 others.

The JVP’s petition has come in the way of Colombo’s Archbishop Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith and Ven Elle Gunawansa, the Samagi Jana Balavegaya and the Federation of National Organisations (FNO) moving the court against the controversial deal with US energy company,The application has also sought a writ of mandamus on the respondents preventing them from taking any action with regard to the matter until the application is taken up and its examination is concluded.

Former JVP MPs Sunil Handunnetti and Wasantha Samarasinghe are the petitioners.

The petitioners state that the Cabinet decisions undermine the rule of law, the Constitution and democratic principles enshrined in the Constitution and several other statutes, and conventions of democratic governance and Cabinet of Ministers exercising executive powers.

The petitioners state that LTL Holdings (Pvt) Ltd., is the largest power sector engineering company in the country. It was first incorporated in the 1980s as a joint venture of the Ceylon Electricity Board and a multinational group – ABB of Norway.

The Petitioners state that Lakdanavi (Pvt) Ltd., is a fully owned subsidiary of LTL Holdings (Pvt) Ltd., and is a company specialised in engineering, procurement and construction and operations and maintenance in the energy and power generation sector.

They assert that the government has not properly explained particulars of the deal even to the Cabinet of Ministers when transferring the shares of the power plant to the American company.

They have also alleged that the government has not obtained the approval of Parliament for the agreement in question and that the relevant share transfer process has not been carried out in accordance with a formal tender procedure.

They have sought the Appeals Court to issue an order rescinding the decision taken to transfer the shares to the American company and the agreement signed by the government.

In addition, the General Secretary of the SJB MP Ranjith Madduma Bandara filed a Fundamental Rights application in the Supreme Court on 21 Oct., challenging the government decision to transfer 40 per cent of the Kerawalapitiya Power Plant to the US firm.

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Ex-Indian HC in Colombo during turbulent 1989-90 will be featured in next Pathfinder “In Conversation” webinar



Ambassador Lakhan Mehrotra, former High Commissioner of India in Sri Lanka, will be featured in the next Pathfinder “In Conversation” webinar scheduled at 2.30 p.m. IST/SLST on Thursday 28th October.

Mehrotra will be interviewed by Bernard Goonetilleke, Chairman, Pathfinder Foundation. They will discuss the guest speaker’s publication ‘My Days in Sri Lanka’, which features his experience during the period 1989-1990, when he served as High Commissioner of India in Sri Lanka, during a politically turbulent era coupled with the separatist war in the north-east and an insurrection in the south.

His book, ‘My Days in Sri Lanka’ touches on the beginnings of the conflict, briefly follows on its evolution until it reached its peak in the early 1990s, and then takes the reader in detail through the author’s own experience in the country, nearly two years after the 1987 Indo-Lanka Agreement was signed and the Indian Peace Keeping Force had been inducted at the invitation of President J. R. Jayewardene, while President Premadasa, who succeeded President Jayewardene considered the presence of an Indian military contingent on his nation’s soil as an affront to its sovereignty. Soon after his election, the President issued an ultimatum for the IPKF to leave its shores by 29th July 1989 and threatened military action against it if it failed to do so, which brought the two nations to the brink of a military confrontation.

The High Commissioner’s intensive consultations and tireless interaction with the political leaders of Sri Lanka, the warring factions in the country’s north-east, and the governments in New Delhi and Colombo helped signing of the joint communique on 28th July 1989 on arrangements for phased withdrawal of the IPKF in March 1990 with due recognition of its contribution and sacrifices made to preserve the unity, integrity and sovereignty of the country. ‘My Days in Sri Lanka’ provides information that has never been divulged before. The “In Conversation” webinar will delve into these experiences of the High Commissioner; whose rather brief assignment was from April 1989 to June 1990.

Following his assignment that covered the most turbulent period of Sri Lanka in modern times, Ambassador Mehrotra served as Secretary (East) in the Ministry of External Affairs and as Prime Minister’s Special Envoy for Africa before his retirement in 1992. Later, he served as UN Secretary General’s Personal Representative in Cambodia from 1997 to 2000 and as Head of the UN Diplomatic Mission in Jakarta for Peace Talks between Indonesia and East Timor.

Those who are interested in retracing the history of Sri Lanka should register in advance for this webinar through the link below:

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Cardinal lashes out at Minister known as Ten Percent



His Eminence Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith visits Sarakkuwa in the Pamunugama area where clearing of X-Press Pearl debris continuinues.Pic by Nishan S .Priyantha

By Norman Palihawadane and Nishan S. Priyantha

Monies taken in the form of commissions by forfeiting people’s welfare will never do any good to those who take them, says His Eminence Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith.

“The biggest malady our society is afflicted with is the commissions earned by politicians through various deals. They take commissions from companies by depriving the people of their dues. Such money has blood on them and they would not do any good to those who take them,” the Cardinal said yesterday.

Speaking to journalists at the Sarakkuwa beach in Pamunugama during an inspection tour to witness the progress of cleaning work of the MV X-Press Pearl wreck the Cardinal said: “We have a Cabinet minister who is notoriously known as Mr. Ten Percent. Imagine the shame on this nation when there is such a minister taking ten percent of commission from every project he passes. The monies collected in that way would never bring out any good.”

The Cardinal said that the President, the Prime Minister and government institutions including the Ministry of Fisheries, coast conservation department, marine environment protection authority and urban development authority were duty bound to remove the wreck, clean the beach and the ocean. “In doing so, the government should be concerned about the interests of people, and not about the shipping company, its local agents or agents of the insurance companies. We demand that the government take this case before the International Court of Justice in The Hague and get full compensation for the people. We have information that the agents of companies have come down and are staying in Colombo exerting influence on various political leaders and officials. Their objective is getting out of this by paying a paltry sum. If the politicians and officials permit that we will take to the streets with people.”

The Cardinal said that there was information that Urban Development Authority officials were making plans to give away Muthurajawela to foreign companies. “Muthurajawela is a national asset and belongs to the people. The politicians have no right to sell them off to Korean or Chinese companies. We would not let that happen,” he said.

Associated with the Cardinal were Ven. Pahiyangala Ananada Thera, Chairperson of Marine Environment Protection Chairperson, bishops and other religious leaders.

The Singapore-registered X-Press Pearl caught fire off the coast of Colombo in May and sank while transporting 1,486 chemical containers from the Middle East with stops in India and Sri Lanka during its voyage to Singapore.

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