Curiouser and curiouser
Posted on November 18th, 2017

Editorial Courtesy The Island


We might follow Alice in Wonderland and say that proceedings at the Bond Commission are getting “curiouser and curiouser.” The technical evidence of a CID officer led before the probe last week revealed that Mr. Arjun Aloysius of Perpetual Treasuries has had many conversations with members of Parliament’s Committee on Public Enterprise (COPE) that was examining the so-called “bond scam.” These revelations predictably raised a great deal of dust with the Joint Opposition seizing the opportunity presented to demand among other things that President Maithripala Sirisena quits the incumbent government and appoints a new prime minister. With Prime Minister Wickremesinghe due to appear before the commission tomorrow, the ‘full serial’ as we dubbed it in this space some Sundays ago, appears to be approaching its climax. Public proceedings and recording of evidence would most likely end with the PM’s testimony but surprises have been plentiful during the commission’s proceedings and more cannot be ruled out altogether.

We don’t have long to wait before we will see whether lawyers from the Attorney General’s Department assisting the commission will have no questions for the premier as was the case when two other cabinet ministers appeared before the probe; and also whether counsel representing persons being investigated will seek elucidations and clarifications. The Commissioners themselves would probably have questions based on the responses by affidavit of the prime minister to matters that have been raised but these, certainly, would be sans the theatricals indulged in by counsel from the AG’s department which undoubtedly provided sensational news to the media and entertainment to newspaper readers and television viewers as scandalous revelations always do.

The former president did not do himself any good by saying that we seem headed towards a police state with telephone conversations of MPs “tapped.” He surely knew that the evidence led was not the result of surveillance of lawmakers but from extraction of data from the telephones of persons under investigation. Time was when even amateurs could eavesdrop on telephone calls by rapidly tapping the various digits of a number they were trying to break into on the cradles of their old-style dial phones. But surveillance methods have advanced by leaps and bounds in ensuing years and intelligence agencies as well as private snoopers now have massive technological support for activities routinely undertaken not only for reasons of national security but also for less defensible purposes. Mr. Rajapaksa who served as president of this country for over a decade would surely have had access to the security apparatus during his time in office and would know best what was done and ordered to be done in his day. Even though the national dress he customarily sports is pristine white, his image sadly is far from squeaky clean. He would have therefore done best keeping his mouth closed and letting events unfold without his assistance.

COPE members who have had telephone contact with Mr. Arjun Aloysius during the time their committee was examining the bond issues have neither done themselves, their party, nor yahapalanaya any good. The Island reported yesterday that former COPE Chairman DEW Gunasekera had called on his successor, the JVP’s Sunil Handunneti, to call on the Speaker to remove those MPs who have been implicated from COPE. One MP whose name has been mentioned said that Aloysius’ grandfather was his father’s friends and he had known the family from childhood. Having talked to him on the phone did not compromise his work on COPE, he said, pointing out that COPE had unanimously recommended that the bond issues are fully investigated. Be that as it may there have been demands that that all MPs, and not only those who are members of COPE, are investigated for contacts with bond scam suspects. This obviously is a task more formidable than calling for affidavits from all of them declaring that they are not dual citizens following Geetha Kumarasinghe’s case as has also been demanded by public interest activists and sections of civil society.

The bond investigation has demonstrated that no telephone communication is beyond investigation and even deleted data can be recovered. Criminals have found to their cost that signals of conversations on mobile phones can provide reliable indications of their places of origin pointing to where a suspect may be holed out. In the case involving the abduction and torture of journalist Keith Noyahr, it was possible to get very close to where he was being held thanks to data obtained from phone signals. The public perception of our legislators have sunk so low that the worst possible construction is placed on any contact between Aloysius, who has not been convicted of any offence and any lawmaker. The MPs have to blame themselves for that. Unfortunately all legislators are tarred with the same brush though the integrity of some is impeccable.

3 Responses to “Curiouser and curiouser”

  1. Dilrook Says:

    Thank you Editor for publishing this bold The Island editorial. I was thinking along these same lines.

    [Quote] The former president did not do himself any good by saying that we seem headed towards a police state with telephone conversations of MPs “tapped.” He surely knew that the evidence led was not the result of surveillance of lawmakers but from extraction of data from the telephones of persons under investigation. He would have therefore done best keeping his mouth closed and letting events unfold without his assistance. [Unquote]

    Ranil draws support from unseen quarters ahead of a landmark event in Lankan history where the PM is called to defend his actions. Ravi K’s wife and daughters that connived with the fraud must be behind bars. This is an enormous fraud dragging many dirt with it.

    It is indeed getting curiouser and curiouser!

    Will Sirisena buckle under pressure and show again that he has no backbone?

  2. aloy Says:

    I think what MR said is correct and timely, although he too did it when he was the prez. RW took direct responsibility when he appointed a non national against the law establishing the Central Bank. An when he stole poor worker’s EPF money which is their lifetime savings, he tried his best to safeguard the culprit through his parliamentary croneys. He is guilty of all those deeds.
    Why prez has no power to remove is because of the unseen hand that has converted our country to a police state. There is no doubt about it. The blame will be put on someone else temporarily and the caravan will move on unperturbed.

  3. aloy Says:

    I am actually curious to know who this unseen hand is. These people are using men like RW who have no political future and greedy businessmen like RK and MS to achieve their ends. If not how can RW act the way he did?. In the bond commission, either the commissioners or the AG’s department should put the question to RW as to who advised him to appoint the non national and also put other questionable people around him for planning SL’s economy.
    Perhaps all these scheming is being done in neighboring countries where they run to. May be they want to ruin our economy so that we will remain undeveloped. When we wanted to join ASEAN which is now economically powerful, they prevented it. Then they tried to take over though a 30 odd year war. Now they want to do it through traitorous Sinhalese. I think our prez is no match for this kind of scheming.

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