Iron Ladies to the fore
Posted on February 28th, 2017

Editorial The Island

The belated yet welcome presidential probe into the bond scams has taken a dramatic turn with the surfacing of a mystery gazette, on the sale of Treasury bonds, published with former President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s name thereon nearly two years after his defeat in Jan. 2015. The government has, true to form, sought to defend the indefensible.

President Maithripala Sirisena has been praised for the special bond probe. But, the fact remains that he sided with the bond thieves in 2015 for political expediency. He dissolved Parliament and thereby thwarted an attempt by the COPE (Committee on Public Enterprises) headed by veteran leftist, D. E. W. Gunasekera, to present a damning report on the bond thefts to the national legislature. The President, desperate to queer the pitch for Mahinda Rajapaksa and ensure the UNP’s victory, did not want the COPE findings published before the last general election.

President Sirisena then went on to deprive Gunasekera of a National List slot in Parliament in a bid to silence the latter’s voice. Such action antithetical to good governance was unbecoming of a leader who had sought and secured a popular mandate to rid the country of bribery and corruption.

It was to atone for his sin that President Sirisena subsequently refused to reappoint Arjuna Mahendran as the Central Bank Governor and went so far as to set up a presidential inquiry into the bond scams. The onus is on him to ensure that the bond thieves won’t be able to go scot free and the colossal losses suffered by the Employees’ Provident Fund etc due to their scams will be recovered.

The credit for blowing the lid off the biggest ever financial fraud should go to several intrepid public officials who chose to be on the side of the truth even at the risk of incurring the wrath of the powers that be and being hounded out of their jobs. They have been at the receiving end of many a vilification campaign carried out by the hirelings of the ruling party politicians. It is a pity that some UNP MPs’ despicable attempts to frighten Central Bank officials including a woman into submission at COPE meeting by shouting at them menacingly were not condemned by the champions of women’s rights. Their barks did not yield the desired result and the officials concerned stood their ground. These men and women who gave evidence against the bond thieves are real heroes and heroines. But for them, the bond scams would have been swept under the carpet. They deserve public plaudits.

Former COPE Chairman D. E. W. Gunasekera, speaking at a ceremony where a book on bond scams, titled, Bandumkara Andaraya (‘The tale of bond scams’), was launched at the BMICH on Monday, paid a glowing tribute to Acting Government Printer Gangani Kalpana Liyanage. He said she had courageously revealed the truth about the above-mentioned mystery gazette, craftily issued by some government politicians and their bureaucratic lackeys after the conclusion of the second COPE probe into the bond scams. They may not have expected a presidential inquiry. He also praised former Superintendent of the Public Debt Department of the Central Bank Deepa Seneviratne for a note which had foiled bond thieves’ attempt to claim that Mahendran had acted on Monetary Board recommendation when he went for the controversial bond auction. Auditor General Gamini Wijesinghe, another intrepid public official who made some conceited UNP MPs eat humble pie at COPE meetings, has also praised her.

The country should be proud of these two Iron Ladies who have stood up to the corrupt and the powerful in the name of public interest. The International Women’s Day is around the corner. Every year, on this day, lip service is paid to empowering women, bringing about gender equality etc. Politicians wax eloquent on women’s role in achieving national progress and the need to recognise and safeguard their rights. We suggest that Gangani and Deepa be felicitated on March 08 for their outstanding contribution to the country’s battle against corruption.

3 Responses to “Iron Ladies to the fore”

  1. Dilrook Says:

    What sort of insanity is this? Instead of investigating the bond scam, the government plays politics with it. Mahinda has nothing to do with this. The matter must be investigated and culprits punished.

    These two women are a rarity in a country driven by favours from politicians. They should be protected from politicians and retribution.

    President Sirisena is actively protecting crooks and allows making a mockery of the whole affair.

  2. Ananda-USA Says:

    I am moved to say that my personal experience dealing with public officials of both sexes in Sri Lanka is that female public employees in Sri Lanka are much more IMPRESSIVE, CAPABLE and HONEST than their male counterparts!

    Whenever I deal with female officials, I can get my job done efficiently and expeditiously; male officials usually erect barriers!

  3. Ananda-USA Says:


    It is our mistake; the Yamapallas said Yamapalanaya, but we heard it incorrectly as Yahapalanaya!

    Too much wax blocking our ears!

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