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Crisis due to impunity

12 June 2016 11:37 pm - 1     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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A report issued by the UN during the former regime had pointed out that the criminal justice system in Sri Lanka was ineffective in combatting a culture of impunity, citing a lack of political will.  Corruption therefore cannot be minimised unless there is a strong political leadership, commitment, focus and institutional support. Does the present government too continue to disburse government funds recklessly?  They should also select priorities through a cycle of planning and implementation in order to maximise the effectiveness and efficiency of public expenditure

 

Have they forgotten that they were elected to apply controls and avoid waste, errors, 
fraud and corruption?
Why did PRECIFAC discontinue investigations of corruption in the Parliament Secretariat? The Commission considered the petitions received against the Parliament Secretariat and decorously decided to hold investigations before my termination from the PRECIFAC. 
It was thereafter my duty to convey the decision of the Commission in writing to the Secretary-General of Parliament and the investigators for the purpose.  If so, why did the commission reverse their decision after my termination?
Who stopped the investigations of the Parliament Secretariat abruptly?  Could the Commission similarly reverse the other important 
investigations too? 
Shouldn’t the Commission act impartially towards everybody?  
Most of the issues mentioned in the relevant petitions had been previously raised in several reports tabled in Parliament by the Auditor-General. These issues were thereafter taken up at a meeting of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) too. 
Do you know what transpired at the PAC meeting?
Acting Chairman Minister Anura Priyadarshana Yapa, having worked with him very well as the Secretary, PAC previously, when he was Chairman, I could not believe that he took up an incredible, incoherent and contemptuous position and opined that work in Parliament cannot be done efficiently unless decisions are taken to expedite action.  

 

 

"According to a survey... by Transparency International (TI) our political parties, politicians, police, public officials, health, education are tainted with corruption"

 


Yapa pulled up the Auditor-General and cautioned AG that he should exercise utmost care when issues about Parliament were raised in the form of audit queries. This kind of irrational and untenable action does not lead to better financial discipline in the public sector.  
If the PAC does not help to uncover fraud, corruption and mismanagement, how can Parliament demand transparency and good governance from government officials.  
COPE too had revealed that billions had been lost to the country owing to corruption in numerous Corporations, Boards and GOBUs. Minister Wijayadasa Rajapakshe and D.E.W. Gunasekera during their tenure as Chairmen issued several reports highlighting massive frauds and corruption. Despite numerous appeals sent to the executive earnestly that steps be taken against the miscreants, nothing had been done by the former regime to deal with the perpetrators.
It was therefore unimaginable to work towards realisation of public sector objectives such as poverty alleviation, support towards national growth. How is it that the present Parliamentarians too do not think that they have a moral responsibility to the people for every rupee they spend? 
Public officials are duty bound to disburse government money with honesty, impartiality, openness, accountability, accuracy, fairness, integrity, transparency, objectivity, reliability in the public interest, to the highest ethical standard, in the spirit and to the letter of law to be able to achieve value for money. 
The IMF recently had insisted Sri Lankan authorities to urgently strengthen the economic growth and narrow the fiscal deficit and put  the country’s public finances on a sustainable path.  It had also pointed out that public debt had risen to over 74 percent and the fiscal deficit had exceeded the estimated target.  Haven’t the politicos 
created a scramble?
Public officials at every level – national, provincial and local have a responsibility towards the citizens to exercise utmost care when they disburse government money.  How did they fail to be guided by principles of good financial management?  Why did both major parties open the gates widely for all types of crooks, thugs, rapists, murderers and law breakers to enter politics? Aren’t there better men to rule this country?
Don’t they have all political families? The father gives it to his son, daughter, wife or the next of kin. The calibre of men and women who are presently in politics is the root cause of most of the problems now in this country. 

 

 

"Why did both major parties open the gates widely for all types of crooks, thugs, rapists, murderers and law breakers to enter politics? Aren’t there better men to rule this country?"

 

 


Ours is a lower middle-income country with a population of nearly 21 million. How is it that, our rulers want to look after themselves, their kith and kin and the henchmen only?
According to a survey carried out by Transparency International (TI) our political parties, politicians, police, public officials, health, and the education are tainted with corruption.  Shouldn’t we now be happy that we do not hear about intimidation, extra-judicial killings and disappearances?  It is however the politicos and bureaucrats who invent issues unnecessarily now.  How?
The Attorney-General plays an indispensable role within the criminal justice system in Sri Lanka. Due to politicisation, it is alleged that the independence of the AG has seriously been eroded and weakened. 
There are hundreds of cases in the Attorney General’s department including reports sent by the CIABOC, FCID and PRECIFAC held up without suitable action. Owing to this reason, corruption, abuse of power and misappropriation of funds continue under the present regime too. The fact that they are not brought to book constitutes the main obstacle to reducing corruption. 
It has been pointed out in a Report issued by the International Commission of Jurists the that Attorney-General had failed to properly investigate and prosecute perpetrators of different crimes including Human Rights violations.
The report had added that “The failure of the State to provide justice and accountability means that tens of thousands of individuals have suffered serious violations of their rights but have received no justice or redress”.  Why is that the present government is lollygagging, when it comes to corruption?  Minister Rishad Bathiudeen was in the news for allegedly destroying blocks of land that came under the wildlife reserve. He had allegedly threatened a Magistrate in Mannar. He had thereafter allegedly instigated a mob to pelt stones. Do you know that the PRECIFAC is now conducting another massive investigation running in to billions in Laksathosa? 

 

 

"Litigants who responded in service delivery surveys claimed to have paid bribes .... At or about the time several reports were published in which senior judges admitted the prevalence of corruption in their judicial systems"

 


Is Sri Lanka facing a crisis due to impunity? Former Chairman of CIABOC was in the news with regard to an issue pertaining to his integrity and no action was taken. Lahugala Divisional Secretary had allegedly taken steps in contravention of accepted policy, where the Cabinet of Ministers and a court of law had ordered to permit land owners to continue in their lands. It is believed an influential minister from the area, who is a businessman, is behind this so called land grab saga. 
Abuse of power has become an ongoing issue under the present regime too.  If a citizen needs to obtain some service from any institution, unless there is some contact or else you are prepared to give a bribe nothing could move.  
It has been revealed that even elected representatives were keen on collecting a commission and even bribes from contractors. Owing to these, approved tender procedures had been openly flouted in favour of a known person or a relative of these people. 
Thomas Paine had said: “The duty of a true patriot is to protect his country from its government”. Media reports revealed that a Doplar Radar System purchased during the former regime for weather forecasts at a total cost of over four billion had been a broad day-light robbery.  This had not been functional for a single day since 2011.   Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe had said: 
“I was not the Minister of Disaster Management at the time. I stepped away in 2010”. Shouldn’t the politicians stop passing the buck because scientists believe that natural disasters occur along predictable patterns and that science and technology possess the capability to protect people against the impact from such disasters?

 

 

"How can the elected representatives consider their own comforts before providing money for those who have faced these massive destruction?... "

 


Ministry of Disaster Management, Provincial administration, National Building Research Organization (NBRO) and Geological Survey and Mines Bureau (GMSB) should have been responsible to evacuate the innocent public well in advance. It seems that nobody has attended to their duties and responsibilities. This reveals volumes of inefficiency, lethargy, lackadaisical attitude and indifference of the public officers including the relevant ministers. Aren’t they totally responsible for lives lost and destruction caused due to the disasters. Wasn’t it the responsibility of the relevant authorities to create awareness and relocate them suitably in advance.  Shouldn’t they now take steps to ascertain other areas prone to similar dangers in future? Rulers must open their eyes far and wide because the entire public sector has miserably failed. Shouldn’t we accept responsibility for our shortcomings and learn from the mistakes!
NWSDB has reportedly submitted a proposal to increase water bills by around 20 percent. Why should it increase water bills because COPE had revealed that 51 percent of running water is wasted in Sri Lanka, which is comparatively the highest in the region?  In Japan this is only 7 percent. Shouldn’t government streamline the NWSDB without burdening the poor masses?  
If so, it would thereafter be possible to reduce bills by 50 percent. Why should the masses foot the bill when these institutions are mismanaged?  

 


Water, electricity, petroleum, judiciary etc. have become expensive because corruption increases the costs! Is the government pursuing the coolest path? 
The masses elected them not to pursue the policies of the previous regime. Blaming the former regime, straining the masses with the burden of VAT and allocating Rs. 1,180 million (1.18 bn) for their vehicles is ridiculous.  “Everything happens for a reason. But sometimes the reason is that you’re stupid and you make bad decisions” – Anonymous. There is growing consensus that the distinction between natural and human-induced disasters is artificial.  There are no natural disasters; there are natural hazards, which impact upon human vulnerabilities that are mostly determined by human causes.  
In this sense, all disasters have political  causes; either by commission or omission. 
Disasters therefore are troubles invited by politicos and bureaucrats. Tsunami affected Pareliya and Telwatte the most, since they had destroyed the coral reefs mercilessly for commercial purposes?
The people in hundreds of thousands since 14th May, 2016 had been forced from their homes owing to floods, heavy rains and earth-slips.  There had been nearly 25,000 people displaced, more than 100 people have died and several hundred were missing. It has been estimated billions and billions will be required to grant relief for the affected people. 

 

 


In addition, the fire that had broken out in Salawa had increased the burden further. 
How can the elected representatives consider their own comforts before providing money for those who have faced these massive destruction? Aren’t they a horde of blockheads to present a supplementary estimate seeking Parliamentary approval for a sum of rupees 118 million particularly when Ravi Karunanayake, Minister of Finance had accepted that the country was bankrupt and needed big money to provide relief to affected people? 
Politicos must now learn to do things which they think they cannot do – SACRIFICE!
In the Supreme Legislature, a few weeks ago, an error had been reported in counting the number of votes of a supplementary estimate.  An Electronic Voting System had been installed in Parliament having spent billions.  The system had never been used at least on a single day because Standing Orders did not permit electronic voting. Another impressive project costing billions and funded by UNDP for modernisation of Parliament had been a total failure.  A project costing over another billion or so to set up a visitor management and attendance control system too had been a total washout.  Couldn’t it have been better if these monies in billions had been used for a more useful purpose? 
Do you know what happened to Dr. Sumith Pilapitiya, a prominent Specialist in Environment, Water Resources and Climate Change? Considering his qualifications and experience he had gathered in the World Bank, he was appointed to the post of Director-General of the Wild Life Conservation Department by this government. 

 

 


Didn’t he tender resignation papers due to undue to political pressure and interference? Pilapitiya was not allowed to carry out his duties in terms of the law. Isn’t it amusing when so called good governance campaigners too do not permit officials to do their work according to the rule?
May I draw your attention to what highly respected official, Dr. Nihal Jayawickrama, former Permanent Secretary, Ministry of 
Justice had stated: 
“The three new acts of Parliament that established a new court structure, new civil, criminal and appellate procedures, and unified a two-tier legal profession. The reforms had a dramatic impact, not only on the administration of justice, but also on the life-styles of lawyers and judges.  For example, the compulsory requirement of resorting to conciliation prior to the institution of proceedings in court resulted in over 50 percent of civil disputes being settled without the intervention of lawyers.  Unfortunately, the legal profession played an active role, and a change of government, the reform legislation almost in its entirety was repealed and the hundred year-old 19th century system was restored”.    Dr. Jayawickrama added “Litigants who responded in service delivery surveys claimed to have paid bribes .... At or about the time several reports were published in which senior judges admitted the prevalence of corruption in their judicial systems”.  Do you think we had elected our representatives to Parliament to destroy systems and gain profit from that destruction? The PM had said: “We want to put Sri Lankan democracy back in to order.  We need to rebuild the judiciary, the Police and the office of the Attorney-General”.  If so, shouldn’t our leaders do the needful to look into the eccentricity of our politicians and the nature of politics to promote reforms?

Change yourself –you are in control – Mahathma Gandhi 

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  • Nirmal Silva Monday, 13 June 2016 01:33 PM

    According to the justice system in Sri Lanka, Police can catch a rabbit, beat it to death and make it to say its not a rabbit but a deer. I dont know where this country going, every policeman accept bribe.


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