Can, when, and will the law strike on Bond Scams?
Posted on January 5th, 2018

By Lucien Rajakarunanayake Courtesy The Island

Are we to be left at the mercy of the Attorney-General’s Department, and for how long more?

This is the latest puzzle on the Bond Scam probe.

President Sirisena has made his statement that the AG has been asked to act on the recommendations of the Presidential Commission.

We also have it from the Prime Minister that he referred the COPE Report on the Bond Scams to the AG for necessary legal action, and that was many months ago.

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There is also the CID file on a Bond Scam referred to the AG’s Department in June 2015 for necessary action.

So the Attorney-General is the Man of the Moment, for the people who want action on the Treasury Bond frauds.

Have these delays by the A-G’s Department anything to do with it being under the Ministry of Justice – that comes under the UNP – which is the continuing and current rival of the SLFP in the slippery path of Good Governance or Yahapalanaya?

We know very well that the Law is a slow mover, and the Court System is not there to speed up the process. But, for how long can the law be delayed on an issue that is so much in the public eye, is very much part of the political campaigns of today, involves the loss of billions of public funds, and the very structure and functioning of the Central Bank?

We have also read that the Law is an Ass, as told by Dickens, and just now it has many more asinine situations than when it was written.

Will our law be able to bring Arjuna Mahendran to book, for all the millions that his manipulations helped the county lose and largely go to that company of perpetual fraud, known as Perpetual Treasuries, run by his son-in-law Arjun Aloysius?

How fast will the AG act to bring these perpetual crooks to book, or will it be a situation of constant or perpetual delays that can only please the crooked and not the people?

Is it possible that we will be seeing more situations of conflicts of interest, which apparently was the biggest burden the Prime Minister had in dealings with his much-trusted friend Arjuna Mahendran?

How long will it take for our law to act on the Commission’s recommendations on Ravi Karunanayake (RK), former Finance Minister, who remains in the front ranks of the UNP? Interestingly, the uniquely forgetful RK has said he is at a loss to understand how he turned up as a suspect in the Central Bank situ, when the Central and other State banks did not come under him?

This is possibly another case of his perpetual and penthouse amnesia. But, will the law look at it as memory loss, or ask whether he is saying that any charges should come against his party leader, the Prime Minister, under whom the Central Bank and State banks are placed? The path of politics can certainly give many interesting twists to the interpretation of the law.

How fast will the Central Bank carry out its own forensic probe into Treasury bond dealings from 2008 to 2015, as the Commission has recommended? Will it be done fast because Mahinda Rajapaksa is in favour of it, or will it be slow because of the concerns of the SLFP ‘creepers’ who are now in Yahapalanaya?

With Law and Justice being so close, in politics and governance, how long will it take for the Legal Draftsman to produce the new Bills required to be passed by parliament to take speedy action on the Treasury Bond Scams, and to recover the losses incurred by the EPF and other important public funds?

It is best not to forget that the crooked people in parliament who do not declare their assets are fined only one or two thousand rupees when their income and benefits are soaring high, compared to when that law was passed.

Also, are we not aware that the National Audit Bill has still not come to Parliament for approval … possibly because the Law does not believe in good and speedy audits of public funds?

President Sirisena has scored a big hit by making his statement on the Bond Scam Commission Report, and his statement that everything has been sent to the AG and Bribery Commission for action. The Prime Minister is also making his own case for referring the earlier COPE Report to the AG.

The AG is certainly in a very big spin for speedy implementation. But what is the reality? Should we recall how so many Commission and Committee Reports of importance have gone into hiding and are buried amidst the files in the AG’s Department?

What the public need now is the AG to show how fast the law can function in the public interest when we all know it moves very slow in the interests of power politics. The President and Prime Minister too should know that getting the law to act with speed on the Treasury Bond Scams is the path to the public confidence of any sort, at best before the coming local government polls.

The proof of such speedy action will also be the substance for continued unity between the UNP and SLFP, in the months ahead, if both parties seek such unity.

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