Foreign assistance to find a way out of the economic mess and catching thieves 
Posted on May 14th, 2016

Dr Sarath Obeysekera

Year 2014 was  a turning point for the United National Party ( with no luck for  JVP) as a well-orchestrated plan was launched with the help of powerful  uncontestable and believable media drive with the help of some disgruntled politicians, artists  and journalists   who have turned the wheel of the country’s development by terminating MR’s regime .

Many claim that foreign countries were involved and conspired against the government and even spend colossal amount of money to topple the government.

Whether it is true or not,there may have been support from the west and India   to carry out about task.

Then none of those countries kept their promises to help us to come out of the economic mess as claimed, and gave meagre amounts of cash to help to cover the balance of payments  .

During last 18 months ,people were expecting miracles ,but nothing seems happening .When we talk about development and corruption ( which goes hand in hand in every country)

First phrase with the question is These people are not catching any thieves as yet ??!!

Second phrase  is Nothing tangible is happening to develop the country”

This means that the priority of the people is to catch the thieves which this government has miserably failed .

They expect to catch the thieves as per the theory in Sinhala Puhul Hora Karen Danei” means The thief who steels a pumpkin will get caught as the stain of the pumkpin skin will be visible on his shoulder and he can be easily identified.

Does the government expect the so called thieves to carry the stolen pumpkin to carry on one’s shoulder so that he get caught ?

When Panama papers revealed that few prominent people in the country have stashed money to avoid taxes and they may  go scot free ,I recollect how the days of British Colonial days ,people were severely punished in public for the offence of non payment of taxes ,and now sadly we close our eyes?

All the above preamble is to come to the point to elaborate the fact that , during the first few months of coming to power our leaders had to travel extensively to the  West and India  and later to China with a begging bowl and they did not heed much in giving grants to help our recovery and continue the development

Now as I mentioned earlier leaders have found that the People in the country has a priority which is to  catch the thieves first and then concentrate on the development?

Leaders  now wonder whether they now want the assistance of a foreign forces to catch the thieves by attending Anti corruption Conference and then go to India for further support to locate stolen cash??

When I was working in UK for a  British Branch of and American Company where Dick Cheney  ( who was the secretary of state ) was the Chairman,involved in a project to develop Liquefied Natural Gas ( LNG) in Port Harcourt in Nigeria paid hefty  bribes to the Nigerian Chief of the particulate state Port Harcourt  to get the project by a Dutch company- Shell ,and all of them got caught and the CEO of the UK branch went to prison

Quote from Bloom berg

Albert Jack” Stanley, the former KBR Inc. chief executive officer, was sentenced to 2 1/2 years in prison for bribing Nigerian officials to win $6 billion in natural gas contracts for the company and its partners.”


This shows that  corruption is rampant everywhere, with only difference is they get caught and get punished quite fast

Then In India former   Indian railways minister Laloo Prasad Yadav has been sentenced to five years in prison in a notorious case known as the “fodder scam”.

May be the trip to the west and India will give an insight to our leaders to catching  thieves is the priority against the development drive and obtain their help to locate the stash , to negate the statement by Joint Opposition Catch me if you can like in the famous film where Leonardo DiCaprio acts

Dr Sarath Obeysekera

6 Responses to “Foreign assistance to find a way out of the economic mess and catching thieves ”

  1. NeelaMahaYoda Says:

    Dear Sarath

    Incidentally, I was working for that company at that time. He got caught violating the strict ant-corruption legislation in the US. The US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) of 1977 is the most widely enforced anti-corruption law.

    It is the first to introduce corporate liability, responsibility for third parties and extraterritoriality for corruption offences, meaning companies and persons can be held criminally and civilly responsible for corruption offences committed abroad.

    Following this case we all had to follow a course familiarising the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and pass an examination to test your knowledge. Without that you were not allowed to work as an Engineer.

    UK hasn’t got similar legislation and as such, UK is not as clean as US.

  2. NeelaMahaYoda Says:


    In addition, US also has strongest legislations against Conflict-of-interests.

    If some of the illegal transactions happened in the US, people like Sarath Fonseka, Ranil Wickremasinghe and the Governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka would have been in the prison cells spending their 20+ year long sentences, perhaps, sharing the same cell with their countryman Rajaratnam.

    Here is the legislation:
    18 U.S. Code § 208 – Acts affecting a personal financial interest

    Sections 201 through 209 of title 18, United States Code, prohibit and provide criminal penalties for certain acts by Government employees involving conflict-of-interest situations, including limited exceptions for special Government employees. These provisions include the following prohibitions:
    Section 208, in general, prohibits a Government employee in his official capacity from participating personally and substantially through decision, approval, disapproval, recommendation, the rendering of advice, or otherwise in any particular matter in which, to his knowledge, he, his spouse, minor child, partner, organization in which he is serving as officer, director, trustee, partner, or employee or any person or organization with whom he is negotiating or has any arrangement concerning prospective employment has a financial interest. In accordance with the provisions, of section 208(b)(2), the financial interests described below are hereby exempted from the prohibition of 18 U.S.C. 208 as being too remote or too inconsequential to affect the integrity of an employee’s services in a matter: The policy holdings in an insurance company and the stock or bond holdings in a mutual fund, investment company, or bank which owns an interest in an entity involved in the matter: Provided, that in the case of a mutual fund, investment company, or bank the fair value of such stock or bond does not exceed 1 percent of the value of the reported assets of the mutual fund, investment company, or bank. In addition, the prohibitions of section 208(a) shall not apply if the employee obtains advance clearance in accordance with the requirements of section 208.
    Section 209, in general, prohibits regular Government employees from receiving salary or supplementation of salary as compensation for their Government service from any source other than the United States. The statutory provisions described in this section are intended to call each employee’s attention to problem areas and are not intended as a comprehensive description or interpretation of statutory prohibitions or the exceptions thereto. Employees who need guidance concerning the scope and application of the conflict-of-interest laws and their execution should consult the Chairman.

  3. Dham Says:


    How about our Laws ? Don’t we need laws such as “regular Government employees from receiving salary or supplementation of salary as compensation for their Government service from any source other than Sri Lanka ” ?

  4. NeelaMahaYoda Says:


    Sri Lanka can easily follow a similar action taking into consideration the following features

    1. Corruption – Sri Lanka needs a solid legal framework to fight the corruption that has run rampant both in politics and in the state structures. Some legislation similar to US criminal conflict of interest statute, 18 U.S.C. § 208 is needed as fewer safeguards means an increased corruption risk in the government. Once the legislation in place the legal system should be capable of handling and prosecuting those who are involved in corruption.

    2. Nepotism and cronyism – Nepotism and cronyism can bring about conflict of interests. Conflict of interest is a situation in which a public official or a politician has a private or other interest which is such as to influence, or appear to influence, the impartial and objective performance of his or her official duties.
    Therefore, only way of tackling the issue of conflict of interest is to actually prohibit (prevent) certain conflicts of interest.
    Regulation should be designed not only to impose obligations on public officials and politicians, but also to help them to resist improper approaches, and more generally to contribute to the development of a fair public service culture. For that criminal conflict of interest shall be explicitly defined in the statutory book and penal code.

    3. Without that we will be using the word corruption as a political weapon for ever.

  5. NeelaMahaYoda Says:

    Unfortunately In Sri Lanka, the word “corruption” is used only to discredit their political opponents. They exchange allegations and counter allegations against each other, without taking positive action to eradicate corruptions

    Corruption is a universal phenomenon. It is not something new either. Corruption in one form or another existed since time immemorial. A review of penal codes utilized in various ancient civilizations clearly demonstrate that bribery was a serious problem among the Jews, the Chinese, the Japanese, the Greeks, the Romans as well as the Aztecs of the New World (Thakur, 1979:7). In ancient India large-scale corruption dominated public life (Thakur, 1979:12).

  6. Dham Says:

    Biggest corrupt pig of this governement is Arjuna Ranatunge. I just recieved very relaible information to state this. He and his brother is destroying everything in the Ports Department. Singapore is thriving because of Port. Our ports have been ruined by Muslim Ministers for years. This Sinhala Pig is worse than al of them it seems.

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