Frantic talks at Finance Ministry but issue of mass resignations unresolved….  News Item
Posted on September 4th, 2016

Dr Sarath Obeysekera

PM laments poor performance of some Treasury Officials ……..News Item.

Quote

MP D Gunawardena said the Financial Crimes Investigations Unit (FCID) has become a threat to the private sector and to public servants.

Some public servants have tendered their resignation fearing questioning from the FCID”, MP Gunawardena said The government should take measures to reinstate them without delay. The people will not be able get anything done from the state sector if these public servants leave.”

Unquote

Recently I wrote an opinion about the same matter ,and I wonder whether the PM has read i.e. have been running a State Enterprise as well as a Private Company and ,I have come across many treasury officials who know only to block any progressive proposal  (citing AR and outdated FR)  put forward by the heads of the enterprise.

Their complain, that they may be called by FCID is just an excuse to get  out of the responsibility .If  a board member of the enterprise does not agree with any development proposal ,presented to the board, and if he feels that the proposal violates the FR or AR he has the right not to agree ,but record his concerns. Then the chairman can make a ruling and take the decision on the basis of votes from majority of the board.

If they claim that only a treasury official will be held responsible for the decision made by the board, they are mistaken, Whole board should be held responsible for the action.

If the government wants the development to go ahead, they can impose e rule that FCID should make a representation to the Public Service Commission and request authority to call the subject treasury officer to FCID for questioning .One ex secretary was questioned by FCID in the same manner ,how an uneducated policeman ( who will call Mr. rather than Sir ! like in UK)    questions  a suspect in the police station .In police station ,an arrested person suspected of a crime is treated as if he is already convicted suspect.

I am in London now and that day I was walking along the high road and noted a white young male wearing a police uniform having a name tag on the back which says Enforcement Officer” .He stopped another young female on the road who threw away a cigarette butt on the pavement ,and claimed that she violated a law .I  stopped and watched how he explained   ( this female who may have been a eastern European origin ,who was not very good in English ) why he is going to impose a penalty . This Officer was never rude or aggressive but firm and smiling imposed a penalty of 100 Pounds and she paid that with her credit card!

I am told by one of the ex-secretary of the previous government who was called by FCID ,that some officers makes such remarks during interrogation as if the subject is already guilty .

No wonder why many State Officers are scared or reluctant to visit FCID.

PM says that it is the Judiciary, but I do not agree .It comes under sub judic’e when you are charged and taken to courts, .cardinal rule is you are Innocent until you are found guilty by court of law.

I suggest that educated young professional law enforcement officers are appointed to FCID who have no political affiliation, and provide an office with a friendly atmosphere (with a coffee machine and an attractive receptionist  !)  So that people love to visit FCID!

Dr Sarath Obeysekera

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