Shouldn’t investigators have courage: to stand against political interference?

17 October 2016 12:03 am - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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The President in a hard hitting speech denounced the steps taken by the CIABOC, CID and FCID to take the former Defence Ministry Secretary and three former Commanders to Court and had said that he had not known that there were such cases pending until that morning! However, there had been several instances where the relevant investigations became publicly known. Media gave wide coverage and highlighted these well during my days too in the PRECIFAC. 


In fact, there had been voice-cuts in the electronic media both in TV and radio, interviews and newspaper headlines about their arrivals etc. similar to a ritual. The blame during that period had been that they were being summoned too often by the Commission. Some spoke of delays too in finalising the investigations.   
The President was aware that the investigators need to be given sufficient time without causing unnecessary legal snags. The Commissioners also ensured that everybody in the Commission had always acted in accordance with the rule of law. We knew that the accused should be given all the opportunities to clear their names as has been provided in the law because corruption was regarded as one of the most difficult crimes to investigate. We knew nobody should tell us how to decide a case. Our duty was to submit transparent reports if those who were investigated are guilty to be dealt with suitably by law. CIABOC has powers to institute legal action and why shouldn’t they do the right thing according to the law? If so who is responsible for suppressing corruption investigation? Hypocrisy?   

 

 


Investigations into corruption of seniors in the former regime had been a laborious task. We knew the President had given an assurance to the people that steps would be taken to eliminate corruption. We started from scratch and established an efficient and effective Secretariat to fulfil our obligation to eliminate corruption from the country through an efficient investigation machinery. We were therefore dedicated, efficient, effective and committed in performing the duties. We were also fully well aware why the people elected the present government? Purely to stop degeneration of all forms!   
According to the President himself, public servants should not carry out their duties on the dictates of all powerful politicians, if such directives are unlawful. I was very happy the President himself had said that the career concerns differ for politicians and bureaucrats. Politicians in Sri Lanka want to win elections. What did CIABOC, FCID and CID officials do, including myself? Didn’t we work towards fulfilling the goals of our own organisations?   
President accused the former regime that corruption had become a cancer in the system. He said that he too had been humiliated in the presence of numerous other personnel when he tried to implement progressive proposals for the benefit of the people. He blamed the former President that he was not given a free hand to work as the then Cabinet Minister of Health. If so, why did the President blame FCID, CID and CIABOC? Is it because corruption investigations are politically sensitive and embarrassing to the government because there are gory mischiefs with him too side by side?   
Investigations can only be effective if they are truly independent and free from undue political interference. According to reliable information the Presidential Secretariat has also given verbal instructions that reports of the Commission should only be forwarded to the Presidential Secretariat. This kind of restriction does not indicate that there is a political will at the top to fight corruption. Threatening public officers for doing their duty is feebleness, when in fact they should be given required strength, support and independence to unearth massive corruption. Constituents are weary of wily politicians.   
President has very rightly said at public meetings that public servants are duty bound to carry out their lawful obligations without any fear or favour. The President had also explained that public servants now need to learn the art of refusing unlawful directives given by the politicians. Didn’t the President give an unlawful order or an issue a threat which cannot be justified? Does it tantamount to unethical political interferences? How can so-called Independent Commissions work under similar threats? Churchill had said “I never ‘worry’ about action, but only about inaction”. The statement made by the President had rightly angered people country-wide. President also said that he had duly taken up the relevant matters at a meeting with the Prime Minister. He had warned that the corruption investigation institutions should not be politicised. He added FCID, CID and CIABOC should not work according to a political agenda. This no doubt is a very serious indictment against the Prime Minister. Why is the President critical about officials when in fact there are corrupt politicians on both sides probably using the influence they have to suppress numerous allegations against them? How can President and Prime Minister ignore that when there is corruption under the YAHAPALANA banner? Didn’t MR also do the same?   


President and Prime Minister have issued necessary instructions on the political stage to implement the law to the letter in regard to everyone alike and have openly canvassed that steps would be taken irrespective of their position or party affiliations. Why don’t they do that in real life? Both Prime Minister and President seem to be silent in regard to ministers who have serious allegations in the Unity government? As citizens, we feel that corruption cases of everybody must be proceeded with without any discrimination. Corruptions cost money to society, which should be considered as a serious loss that should be eliminated without delay.   
Why is it that those in the Unity Government had been so far out of danger? Shouldn’t the President and the Prime Minister consider corruption to be an ethical problem and a behavioural problem. They should be committed to solve this problem by means of personal ‘reform’ of their party-men as well. Isn’t corruption ‘sinful’ and ‘wrongdoing’?   
It is interesting to know why the Prime Minister and Central Bank Governor, after a discussion held together had agreed to handover to CID to investigate the alleged leaks of the so-called financial secrets of the Central Bank. Shouldn’t the President and the Prime Ministers protect whistle-blowers in our country if we need to eliminate corruption? Why are they not doing that?   
It has also been reported that Director-General CIABOC Dilrukshi Wickremasinghe too appears to have tendered her resignation owing to baseless allegations levelled against her institution and the staff. She should not, in my view, rush because she must show the country that she, being the head of CIABOC, has the courage to stand against political interference. Dilrukshi’s job is never easy. In the end, the price we pay is well worth holding on to our dignity for the sake our countrymen. We shouldn’t run away. We need great courage, effort and patience for the benefit of the ordinary masses. It is patriotism.   
I wish her good luck.     

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