Been there, seen that
Posted on December 31st, 2017

Editorial Courtesy The Island

Monday 1st January, 2018

The much-delayed bond probe commission report has been handed over to President Maithripala Sirisena. The Treasury bond scams might enter the Guinness Book of World Records as the ‘most probed’ racket in the world. It is hoped that at least now some tangible action will be taken to bring the perpetrators of the biggest ever financial crime in the country to justice without further delay.

We are afraid that the manner in which the presidential commission functioned towards the closing stage of its proceedings left a bad taste in many a mouth just like the second COPE (Committee on Public Enterprises), which probed the bond scams. We don’t expect the presidential commission report to be much different from that of the COPE, which stopped short of naming the masterminds of the bond scams. We hope we will be proved wrong.

The public was treated to some very entertaining sideshows during the presidential commission investigation into the bond scams. But, sadly, when the probe entered a crucial phase with big names being implicated the pugnacity of the commission gave way to pusillanimity. Some lesser witnesses were ‘summoned’ and ‘grilled’ before the commission, but the government grandees were ‘invited’ and given kid glove treatment. Gagging for more information about the bond rackets, the public expected the Attorney General’s Department counsel to question, nay, grill the key witnesses. But, instead, the intrepid officials were gagged to all intents and purposes.

President Maithripala Sirisena has warned one and all that his sword won’t spare anyone. Let him be warned that the blade he is talking about is a double-edged one. Unless he handles it properly he runs the risk of putting himself in harm’s way. He had better be mindful of the fate that befell his immediate predecessor, Mahinda Rajapaksa, who unflinchingly shielded the corrupt and went so far as to ‘swallow’ presidential commission reports.

Following a bra-throwing incident at a pop concert in Colombo, President Sirisena once brandished a maduwalige (a stingray tail used as a whip) in public, so to speak, threatening to punish those who tried to ruin the country’s culture. But, his threat was never carried out. We hope his royal sword, too, won’t idle in the gilded scabbard.

The President has had the sword he is talking about since Jan. 2015. But, the question is why he did not make use of it when the first bond scam came to light a few weeks after the formation of the yahapalana government. He sheathed the sword and dissolved Parliament, thereby, aborting the presentation of the first COPE report to the House. His executive action prevented that vital document from becoming public. He did so because he did not want to spoil the UNP’s chances of winning the last general election; he was banking on the UNP to help hold his bête noire, Rajapaksa, at bay. Had he put the country before self, allowed that COPE report to be presented to Parliament and ordered a presidential probe into its findings, the second bond scam which was far worse than the first one could have been prevented. After opening the stable door himself, the President ordered a probe to find out how the horse had bolted!

It is incumbent upon President Sirisena to make public the bond commission report without redactions. Whatever its findings may be, the people are now au fait with the bond scams. The presidential commission served a useful purpose in that what transpired before it is now in the public domain. The media can justifiably claim the credit for exposing the bond scams and ratcheting up pressure on the government to have them investigated. People are the best judges. In politics, what actually matters is not the official version of scams but the public perception thereof as evident from the success of the then Opposition’s propaganda offensive which caused the grand fall of President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

Criminal charges must be pressed against the bond racketeers who helped themselves to poor workers’ savings in the EPF and the ETF and public funds in the state banks to the tune of billions of rupees while civil action is taken to recover the stolen money. A Thai court has sentenced a fraudster to 13,275 years in prison for cheating about 40,000 persons out of USD 160 mn through a Ponzi scheme. Sri Lankan bond racketeers have overtaken him; they have cheated the entire nation! They and their political masters deserve to be sentenced to at least 1,000 years each in prison.

We wish our readers a prosperous New Year free from bribery, corruption, runaway inflation and abuse of power!

3 Responses to “Been there, seen that”

  1. L Perera Says:

    President Sirisena’s political future is on a knife edge. The price he has to pay for ending the TWo PArTY system that existed since independence.

  2. Ratanapala Says:

    Sirisena is just as much a thief as the rest!

    Sirisena is as much a culprit as the rest of Bond Scam thieves including the Prime Minister. The timeline to the Bond Scam shows that it did not happen by chance on 27 Feb 2015. It was well planned even before the Jadapalanaya commenced, most probably with US think tanks finding a way to finance their latest Colour Revolution, this time in Sri Lanka.

    The Common Candidate, the appointment of Ranil as PM, taking over of the Central Bank under Ranil, the appointment of Arjuna Mahendran, the breakfast meetings and the findings of the two COPE committees and now of the Commission of Inquiry all smell of one thing and one thing alone – collusion of UNP higherups right from the beginning in the Bond Scam. Sirisena is just as guilty of allowing it to happen right under his nose and not taking appropriate actions, not only to apprehend the culprits but also allowing the thieves to continue stealing.

    Bond scams continued in big and small ways right up to 29 March 2016, 31 March 2016 and beyond till Arjuna Mahendran was removed from the position of Governor of the Central Bank. He was later appointed to a position just as important with not a whimper of concern.

    The responsibility is with Sirisena for hiding the thieves and defrauding the entire nation.

    He should stand down first!

  3. Christie Says:

    “They and their political masters deserve to be sentenced to at least 1,000 years each in prison.”

    The masters are the Indian Colonial Parasites the Mahemdrans and other Indian Colonial Parasites in our land and other countries like Singapore.


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