Two allegations of a serious nature have rocked the boat of the new government which came into power this January. One of them was the 30-year bond controversy of which a committee appointed by the Prime Minister had submitted a report which is now being further inquired by a sub-committee of the COPE. It is also pertinent to note that the aspirations of post-war Sri Lanka have changed radically. Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa couldn’t comprehend that, and it is expected that the present government would learn from those mistakes of the previous regime.
Another matter that cropped up this week was the completely unexpected resignation of Director General of Customs. Though he had cited ‘personal reasons’ for the decision to step down, information coming in suggest that the matter was more than personal. The opposition charged that the Director General’s resignation was due to the pressure exerted by unnamed higher ups in the government to carry out illegal activities. They linked the Director General’s resignation to his refusal to clear 15 containers of Glyphosate, a banned agro-chemical, which have been allegedly imported to the country. It was only last Friday President Maithripala Sirisena banned the importation of this harmful agro-chemical which is identified as the main culprit for the chronic kidney disease in Rajarata.
This is a serious allegation from which the new government should clear its name. They cannot treat this as a trivial matter. If there are frauds and abuse of power by the resigned Director General during the previous regime, that too should be properly investigated. But in the same tenor, the reasons behind his sudden resignation should also be disclosed.
During the presidential election, those who backed the common candidate Maithripala Sirisena stressed the need for proper systems in place so that whichever the government that comes to power would not be able to abuse the system. The passing of the 19th amendment inclusive of the independent commissions was a major step towards this. The determination and the statesmanship shown by President Sirisena in getting the amendment passed aptly demonstrated how committed he was to restore the democratic process in the country.
Therefore the public expects President Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe to look into these two pertinent matters and resolve them, not allowing anybody to take political mileage out of them as these two incidents have evidently given ammunition to the opposition to trash the new government which ended the abuse of power by the previous strong-man Mahinda Rajapaksa.