CIVIL SOCIETY RULING COUNTRY DURING NATURAL DISASTERS GOVT is IMPOTENT!-WASANTHA SAMARASINGHE
Posted on June 4th, 2017

WITH RAVI LADDUWAHETTY Courtesy Ceylon Today

Convenor of the Anti Corruption Front and President of the Inter-Company Employees’ Union Wasantha Samarasinghe said yesterday the government was totally impotent at a time of natural disasters and it was virtually the civil society which was running the country.

He also said the families of the 300 plus people who died in the floods should take the government to Court for not being able to save their lives.

The government which came to power on a mandate of uprooting corruption has now legalized it with the latest Cabinet reshuffle, Samarasinghe and the anti- corruption watchdog said.

He also said there were overt moves to close the Financial Crimes Investigation Division (FCID), which was brought to muzzle ministers and the others of the previous regime, which has resulted in a classical catch 22 situation where there are more complaints and allegations of corruption from the government than the previous regime! There are some ministers who are making as much as Rs 150 million a day!

Samarasinghe talks to Ceylon Today.

Excerpts:

?: You were one of the most vociferous critics of not only the present government, but also the previous government. What is the latest corruption issue you are digging into?

A: This is a government which rode to power on the promise and the premise of eradicating rampant corruption. It was due to that reason that Maithripala Sirisena became the President and Ranil Wickremesinghe became the Prime Minister.

They both and the other UNP members of the government assured the people and the voters that they will not only legally punish and arrest all the corrupt members of the previous government, but also recover the filthy lucre of the previous government and enrich the State coffers. But now the scenario and the political backdrop are totally different.

Today both of them have drawn close most of the corrupt members of the previous government and they are carrying on regardless. This has become a government which is encouraging rampant corruption.

?: You mentioned all this time that the members of the previous government were corrupt. What about the current ones?

A: There are a large number of allegations of corruption against the ministers of this government. We have made scores of complaints to the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery and Corruption (CIABOC) and also to the Anti Corruption Secretariat. On the face of all these, what did the government do? It reshuffled the ministers so that those allegations could not be acted upon! The primary cause of the Cabinet reshuffle was to make the corrupt ministers not be answerable to the people so that all the allegations could be swept under the carpet. Safeguarding the rogues have been the principle cornerstones of the government.

?: But with all the protests, the government has not punished anyone yet? What are your comments?

A: The alarming aspect of all this is what happened to the cases we filed in the CIABOC and others? With all the proclamations that the government made, has it arrested any member of the previous government? The answer is a resounding no.

Now they have legalized corruption with subtle and overt moves to close down or muzzle the FCID and other apparatuses which have been doing the investigations as the “pet poodles” and “lap dogs” have also been caught with their “hands in the till!” The simple question that we are asking is what is happening to the 80 plus cases that we have filed? Why there is no action or at least a mention of the cases? What does that imply? That simply means that the government is also paying scant respect to the laws of the land, morality and ethics that they promised to deliver when assuming office.

This is a serious development as the government has maintained a deft silence on these matters for reasons best known to it.

?: Do you think that there are moves to close down the FCID which was launched with much fanfare?

A: The government is in the process of closing it down.

?: On what basis do you say that?

A: The government has already taken a decision that it will seriously consider the operations of the FCID, the Anti Corruption Secretariat (ACS) and the Criminal Investigation Department (CID). Now the FCID is getting complaints only from the Anti Corruption Secretariat and the government is planning to close the ACS which is the fastest way of stopping anti- corruption probes! With the passage of time even the CIABOC will also be closed down and the country will reach a stage of anarchy very soon! Most of the cases which have been transferred to other Courts and it is only a matter of time that the FCID and the ACS will be redundant. They will not only close them but also they will die a natural death.

?: What is your latest view on the Central Bank bond scam?

A: The simple question that we are asking the government is, how many people who the government accused of having mega buck stashed away overseas been jailed ? How much of the stashed monies have been recovered, which also includes the funds which were stolen from the Central Bank bond scam? Now they are starting media organizations, investing money in the Colombo Stock Exchange and also in properties overseas? There was a claim that Rs 2 billion has been invested in the equity (shares) of a private bank.

We have told the FCID to provide us with the details of findings. But it appears as if the government is going back on the assurances given to the people of having a totally corruption free society in the country.

?: What will you do? Are you helpless?

A: We will brief the people countrywide of all this. How can a government which came to power on the promise of uprooting corruption openly encourage it? The government is openly encouraging corruption. We will create an environment where people can protest against the corrupt government.

?: On what basis are you going to do it? What will be the modus operandi?

A: We will be holding countrywide meetings and seminars to apprise the people of the actions of this shameful and sinful government.

?: How do you plan to handle it?

A: We will mobilize all the resources at our disposal. We will tell the media and the people through the media. We will mobilize all the MPs who are in Parliament to create a strong public opinion against the government and the former regime.

?: What is happening to the Central Bank bond scam and the Presidential Commission appointed to probe it?

A: We are asking what is happening to the Presidential Commission appointed to probe the Central Bank bond scam. Surely there must be damning evidence. Has the government at least frozen the accounts of the perpetrators? Now the rogues are publishing newspapers to launder stolen money. It is also the same money which is going to make distilleries and to produce spirits and alcohol.

It is also the same crowd of people who hoodwinked the Mahinda Rajapaksa regime and plundered money by manipulating the Stock Market. The government is also aiding and abetting it. Whatever ventures they start, they use stolen money and we take the stand that the funds should be recovered. Otherwise, all the politicians and the businessmen who were involved in the racket will be answerable to a people’s Court.

?: What do you think of the collapse of the Meethotamulla garbage dump?

A: That was a man-made disaster. The floods were a natural disaster. There are over 300 people who have died so far. Roads and slopes have collapsed. But it is also tragic that the government cannot clear at least 15 or 20 of the estuaries where the river water reaches the sea until another major tragedy occurs. The government simply showed that it has no concern for the lives of the people. Today the world is developed and there is access to technology which can predict floods.

?: Are you happy with the way the government handled the flood situation and the Meethotamulla tragedy?

A: There were two major floods within a span of one year. The government has paid scant respect to the people who were affected. However, the government and ministers are more worried about luxury vehicles and foreign trips. They are not sensitive to the people’s needs. It is important to take action after the tragedy, but also to take preventive action. There are much bigger devastations overseas. China’s population is over 1,320 million, but we have only 20 million people. There are volcanoes and earthquakes in those countries, but there had been fewer deaths. Those countries have properly and scientifically managed the disasters. They evacuate people from landslide-prone areas in time and clear the waterways. In Sri Lanka the government is inactive and the people are governing the country. The civil society should be congratulated on its contribution at a time the country is facing disasters. The security forces also deserve praise for their commitment in times of adversity. By the time the government brought lunch packets to flood victims, civilians and the armed forces were busy cleaning the areas and bringing normalcy to the affected areas. Parliamentarians are busy pampering their egos while the country is on fire! The people are ruling the country while government remains impotent. The government is waiting for the people to do everything for it. It has no solutions to natural disasters.

The government tried to ignore the Meethotamulla tragedy through the Cabinet reshuffle and now it cannot escape from the tragedy caused by floods! Over 300 people have died and the government has not done its duty. The civil life has been disrupted due to the inertia of the government.

Families of the people who lost their lives should take the government to Court for its inability to protect their lives.

The government has now started selling the family silver and all the strategic assets. That is what the reshuffled ministers are doing now.

?: What about the SAITM issue?

A: The government has been able to heave a temporary sigh of relief in aspect of the South Asian Institute of Technology and Medicine (SAITM) as the attention has been diverted with the advent of floods. When the floods subside, the government would have a whole lot of problems.

The government should go by the recommendations of the Sri Lanka Medical Council as far as SAITM issue is concerned.

?: With all the criticisms what is your way forward?

A: The government should stop plundering the Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF) and stop selling public assets. It should also find a solution to stop the abrupt disruption of civil life.

If the government cannot pay heed to this advice, we will show in no uncertain terms what we are capable of. The people cannot be held responsible for a government run in an arbitrary manner.

2 Responses to “CIVIL SOCIETY RULING COUNTRY DURING NATURAL DISASTERS GOVT is IMPOTENT!-WASANTHA SAMARASINGHE”

  1. Lorenzo Says:

    Enough proof only a MILITARY-SANGHA takeover can save SL.

    The GOVT. is DEAD! The OPPOSITION is DEAD.

  2. Sarath W Says:

    Hora traitor Sira has neutralised the opposition by appointing one of it’s stooges as the leader of opposition. The JO is like a toothless tiger. It’s mouth piece Wimal makes some noise from time to time like an empty vessel, not on any important issues. Mahinda waits for someone else to do the dirty work for him to become the leader again. So Hora Sira and Batalanda Ranil know they are safe for some time and do whatever they want to do. I am sure the government will pay Rs 100,000 for each of the flood victims who lost their lives, only a fraction of the cost of a luxury car the crooked parasites in the cabinet. Some ministers cars are worth more than 300 lives. THIS IS YAHAPALANAYA.

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