Decision should be taken in the best interest of the country
Posted on August 6th, 2017

Editorial Courtesy The Daily Mirror

Two years after assuming office, the National Unity government is facing one of its biggest crises in the aftermath of the bombshell revelations made last Wednesday at the sittings of the Commission probing the alleged multi-million dollar bond scam in the Central Bank.

At the Centre of the crisis is the former Finance Minister and now Foreign Minister Ravi Karunanayake along with the Perpetual Treasuries boss Arjun Aloysius who is one of the main figures in the alleged bond scams.

Media reports say both President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe have urged Mr. Karunanayake to resign from his post at least until the Commission concludes its sittings at the end of October. At Wednesday’s dramatic sittings, which hit the headlines in the mainstream and social media, Anika Wijesuriya, the daughter of millionaire businessman Nahil Wijesuriya—testified that she had met Arjun Aloysius and he had offered to pay a lease of Rs. 1.45 million a month for the Karunanayake family to move into the luxury Monarch apartment, next to the Cinnamon Grand Hotel. Mr. Karunanayake, during sometimes heated cross-examination by Additional Solicitor General Dappula de Livera, denied any knowledge of Mr. Aloysius’ involvement and said it was his family that had worked out the deal with the controversial Perpetual Treasury’s boss. The Minister said he often worked at the Finance Ministry from 7am to 11 pm and therefore personal matters were worked out by his family. He also admitted that after the lease agreement ended, his family company had purchased a luxury apartment for Rs.165 million.

Responding to questions by the Additional Solicitor General and denying charges that he may be lying under oath, Mr. Karunanayake said he could not remember whether he had gone in the same flight with Mr. Aloysius to Singapore and how many times he had met him there. The other major allegation was that the Karunanayake family company chairman had paid for the apartment complex and its penthouse in cash that he brought in two bags, one containing Rs. 75 million and the other Rs. 70 million. This money was kept in the company safe, raising questions as to whether there was any link with money laundering which is alleged to have taken place in multimillion dollar proportion during the past decade.

Media reports also say several cabinet ministers representing both the United National Party (UNP) and the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) had proposed that Mr. Karunanayake should step down from the portfolio because of the national and international embarrassment the revelations had caused to the national government.

In 2015, the President and the National Government had been elected to office with one of their main promises being that stern action would be taken against the former regime’s VIPs who were allegedly involved in the plunder of billions of dollars in public funds. President Sirisena also calls for a simple and humble lifestyle by party leaders and other politicians. He said he would set the example in ‘Alpechchathawaya’ and servant leadership. But two and half years after being elected to office, the President has publicly expressed concern over delays in probing allegations of large scale corruptions by former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, his family members, top officials and associates.

The President also expressed concern that some UNP front-liners were delaying the investigations, though the reasons for it were not clearly spelt out. Some element of the mystery unfolded when former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, in a speech on Saturday said he had not signed the Joint Opposition motion of no-confidence against Mr. Karunanayake and would not vote for it.

President Sirisena also said he had quit the former regime because it was largely corrupt and would not remain in any corrupt government. Therefore the decision by the President and the Prime Minister to call for Mr. Karunanayake’s resignation could also have some positive impact in showing that the current government would prosecute not only former VIPs but also present ones if there was substantial evidence of involvement in corruption or frauds.

5 Responses to “Decision should be taken in the best interest of the country”

  1. Ananda-USA Says:

    THROW the Ali-Baba and his 40-YamapalanaThieves OUT OF GOVERNMENT ….. RIGHT NOW!

  2. Ananda-USA Says:

    If Sirisena RESIGNED from the MR/UPFA Govt because it was CORRUPT,

    Then, Sirisena should SACK the Yamapalana Govt, CONDUCT New Presidential and General Elections to ELECT a New President and Parliament, and RESIGN IMMEDIATELY thereafter ….

    …. BECAUSE the Yamapalanaya he is PRESIDING OVER is INCURABLY CORRUPT ALSO!

    Mr. PRESIDENT …… APPLY the SAME STANDARDS NOW in this way by putting your money where your mouth is!

  3. Dilrook Says:

    This can make or break Sirisena. With no development or other achievements to show, his only salvation is to punish his corrupt competition on both sides of the political divide. Interesting his starting point is the UNP former finance minister. It is a matter of time he moved to the earlier finance minister. If Sirisena prosecutes both, 2019 will be a cakewalk for him. Otherwise he may suffer what Fonseka suffered.

    This is a rare good time for the people who were always at the receiving end. In the next 3 months, the three political giants will battle it out. Hopefully they will not have peace among them which only means collusion.

    The country needs an atmosphere of retribution for corruption making good use of the animosity between political rivals.

  4. Ananda-USA Says:

    Dilrook,

    President Sirisena SHOULD NOT, and CANNOT, ADOPT the role of an IMPARTIAL man PUNISHING MISCREANTS on both sides of the Political Divide.

    This CORRUPTION, BUNGLING and TREACHERY to the Nation is HIS BABY NOW, and HE IS RESPONSIBLE FOR IT.

    It is MUCH TOO LATE for SIRISENA to play the ROLE of an INCORRUPTIBLE INNOCENT Head of Goverment Dispensing JUSTICE to all and sundry.

    If he is a MAN of HONOR, despite the TREACHEROUS BACKSTABBING that brpught him to power, he should TAKE RESPONSIBILITY for ALL OF IT, DECLARE his INTENTION to leave OFFICE, IMMEDIATELY SACK the Yamapalanaya govt and IMPOSE Presidential RULE, supervise the PROMPT CONDUCT of BOTH Presidential and GENERAL ELECTIONS, and and ALLOW a New Goverment to be formed under a New President by RESIGNING IMMEDIATELY thereafter.

    WheThe he will do it will HINGE on whether his GREED, AMBITION and EGO continues to overwhelm his LOVE for his Motherland that he has BROUGHT TO ITS KNEES!

  5. Ananda-USA Says:

    HERE is WHY President Sirisena ALSO should be HELD RESPONSIBLE (From Charles’s Comment elsewhere):

    …………………………………

    The President too has to answer

    (i)why he allowed his Prime Minister appoint as Financ Minister a man who had a case against him in the Tribunal for money laundering,

    (ii) why he allowed a man who was not a citizen of Sri Lanka to be appointed as the Governor of the Central Bank,

    (iii) why he did not sack the PM when he refused to dissmiss Arjun Mahendran after the Bond Scam and appointed him instead as advisor to the Prime Minister,

    (iv) why the President enacted a farce to fool the people about a cabinet reshuffle to merely appoint Ravi K as the Foreign Minister with Lottery Board tagged to his Ministry, and Mangala S as Minister of Finnce with Media tagged to his Ministry,

    (v) why did the President allow Prime Minister to keep the Central Bank under him instead of it remaining as a part of the Finance Ministry.

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