he masses who voted at the January 8 presidential election are gradually turning angry against the unprecedented and unimaginable mass-scale corruption that had occurred during the previous regime and the lack of action being taken by the Maithripala Sirisena government on this matter even 10 days after his election as President.
UNP parliamentarian Ranjan Ramanayake had blamed the President and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe for allowing a certain person, who was accused of corruption amounting to billions of rupees, to leave the country soon after the presidential election results were announced. The people who are concerned about corruption and good governance -- the main slogan of opposition parties during the election – are perplexed and worried whether “thieves and plunderers” as they were called by the ministers of the present government, would be allowed to go free.
During elections, opposition parties are known to shout at the top of their voice about corruption by the then governments in office and rarely has any political leader been punished or indicted on fraud and corruption charges. The only action taken was by the JR Jayewardene government, which was abolishing the civic rights of Prime Minister Sirimavo Bandaranaike on corruption charges.
A minister of the present government was accused of mass-scale corruption by the leaders of the United People’s Freedom Allaince (UPFA) and the JanathaVimukthi Peramuna (JVP) during the 2004 Parliamentary election campaign. But no action was taken against him after the UPFA came to power. Therefore, the masses are of the view that there is an undeclared agreement among politicians not to take action against each other despite the opposition of the day making allegations against the ruling party members of corruption and crime. That is the reason behind the people’s worry about the delay in taking action against corrupt politicians of the former government.
On the other hand President Maithripala Sirisena has taken over the reins of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party, the leaders of which were once accused of plundering the wealth of the masses. President Sirisena has to act against his own party-men including a patron of the party, if he is to fulfil his election promises in respect of corruption and good governance.
However, only two complaints have been lodged so far against the leaders of the former government, one by the JVP against former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, former Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa and several others on corruption, while the other was by Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera against the former President for allegedly attempting to stage a coup in the early hours of January 9 when his defeat at the Presidential election was imminent. The government is expected to appoint a special tribunal to investigate the corruption that had taken place during the past regime only on February 5, according to the 100-day programme of the new government that had been distributed during the election campaign. However, it is better to act forthwith, because tomorrow will be too late.