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Editorial: Blatant abuse of public funds continues unchecked

17 July 2012 10:07 pm - 5     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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The issues of integrity, accountability, transparency and good governance among political leaders and top officials have reached crisis proportions with the country losing billions of rupees in dwindling foreign exchange.

The latest case, as exposed in the media recently, was that of the controversial Central Bank Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal investing some Rs.3.5 billion in bonds in Greece. He reportedly did it without the approval of the Monetary Board. Greece went bankrupt and Sri Lankans lost billions of rupees at a time when the country is facing an economic crisis and millions of people are struggling for survival with the cost of living soaring to unprecedented levels.

Mr. Cabraal as usual has given explanations or excuses for what he did, but independent economists believe that the lack of insight on what was happening in Greece was one of the reasons for the blunder. Why is he not being held accountable for the loss of billions in public funds?

Large-scale corruption, fraud and the abuse or waste of public funds are going on unchecked largely because ruling party politicians at all levels and public officials from top to bottom appear to have been given a blank cheque to continue to plunder the wealth and resources of the country.

Another scandalous instance of the waste or abuse of public funds is the busting up of about 650 million rupees to hold early elections to three provincial councils. If the legal and illegal expenditure of the candidates is taken into account, the total amount may be more than Rs.1,000 million. Most of the people of the Eastern, North Central and Sabaragamuwa Provinces apparently did not want these elections because day-to-day existence has become a trial and a tribulation for them.

The elections are obviously being held to boost the egos of ruling party politicians who want to show the country and the international community that they can still win elections despite all the crises and criticism.

According to media reports, blatant violation of election laws has already started and the Elections Commissioner is quoted as saying he is helpless because the 18th Amendment has given all the powers to the President who is also the supreme leader of the ruling alliance. Reports say hundreds of graduates and others are being recruited to the public service in the three provinces. This is illegal after nominations have been called for, but who cares for the law because there is little or no rule of law.

The present Elections Commissioner and his predecessor said they were helpless to stop this because they had no powers under the dictatorial 18th Amendment to the constitution. So elections have become a farce and a joke at public expense and independent analysts ask why the main opposition parties are not boycotting these elections to show the country and the world that elections are also plagued by corruption fraud and deception.
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  Comments - 5

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  • CHANDRAPALA Wednesday, 18 July 2012 02:13 AM

    President needs to apply hire and fire policy. Why can't he? We are only airing our views.

    Manik Wednesday, 18 July 2012 04:48 AM

    Good idea but which self respecting professional with good breeding and in proper senses wants to be hired by Sri Lankan politicians?

    Gamini Senarath Wednesday, 18 July 2012 06:06 AM

    Not only political parties people also must boycot elections.

    We need to protest!!

    Tokyo Wednesday, 18 July 2012 12:22 AM

    Well said! Not only this, an ordinary person doesn't have any freedom live peacefully! The whole country is a mess!!

    Kautilya Wednesday, 18 July 2012 07:16 AM

    I congratulate the Editor for his courageous Editorial. But this has no avail as Sri Lanka's governance including law and order is deaf and blind for corruption,misdeeds ,abuse of public funds and crimes.Enraging in corruption,and abuse of public funds, and violation of rule of law is a Recognised Right for politicians and policy makers.


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