Who guards the guards?
Posted on January 5th, 2018

Editorial Courtesy The Island

The biggest threat to the nation’s coffers comes not from outsiders as such but from the rogues among its custodians. Troubled by a spate of bank heists, a desperate police once sought to slap a ban on full-face helmets, which are usually worn by robbers to hide their identities. But, those who robbed the Central Bank not just once but twice, so to speak, wore no helmets and carried no guns, at all. Arrayed in designer suits with official IDs dangling from expensive lanyards, they were the very custodians of the bank. Gamekeepers turned poachers, one may say. Centuries ago, Juvenal, the Roman poet, posed a very pertinent question which Sri Lankans are asking themselves today: Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? (Who guards the guards?)

The presidential commission of inquiry report on the Central Bank bond scams is now with President Maithripala Sirisena, who has selectively disclosed some of its recommendations. The full text of the document has not yet been made public and it is doubtful whether it will ever see the light of day, but what is already known thereof is sufficient to conclude that the scams have actually happened. Some of the culprits have also been identified and action against them recommended. However, it looks as if the process of initiating legal action would take a month of Sundays. For, the wheels of justice always turn at a politically determined speed in this country.

How would the yahapalana government have acted if a presidential commission had recommended legal action in respect of corrupt deals involving its political enemies? It would have had all of them arrested forthwith with the highly politicised special police units working overtime to cause the suspects to be held on remand indefinitely. But, the bond racketeers with yahapalana connections are still at large! The government leaders keep haranguing us on their commitment to good governance and the rule of law!

The grandees of the previous dispensation were thrown out of power over allegations which had not been proved. That doesn’t mean they were not corrupt and what they stood accused of were baseless. Corruption was so rampant under their rule that people readily bought into claims the then Opposition made in the run-up to the 2015 presidential election. The public expected those allegations to be probed and legal action taken against the corrupt swiftly after the change of government. They wanted the stolen public wealth recovered as a national priority. Instead, the potentates of the incumbent administration have been busy lining their pockets without going the whole hog to substantiate the allegations they themselves made against their enemies let alone seize the stolen wealth. Having been in political wilderness for years, they are apparently making up for lost time.

President Sirisena tells us that he has a sword, which will spare none, in his efforts to rid the country of corruption. (We hope the blade in his hand doesn’t belong to Justitia.) But, as regards corruption within the ranks of the yahapalana administration, he apparently uses the sheath instead of the sword when he takes on the bad eggs within the government ranks.

A fish is said to rot from the head down. Irrefutable evidence has emerged that the bond racketeers had the blessings of the highest echelons of government. The rest of the yahapalana fish is no better than its rotten head if one is to go by the damning allegations against other government worthies. But, no action is taken against anyone associated with the powers that be. Under the previous government a minister got away with a cheque fraud thanks to the Attorney General’s Department, which yielded to political pressure. The 2015 regime change has not made any difference. A minister involved in a vehicle racket, a criminal offence, has been let off the hook!

Will anyone with a modicum of intelligence expect the highly-connected bond racketeers who are likely to rat on their political bosses, in case of being considered expendable and treated as such, to be brought to justice?

One Response to “Who guards the guards?”

  1. Christie Says:

    සිරිසේන වේට්ටිය උඩ්ටම උස්සගෙන එයා පත්කරපු කොමිසන් වාර්තාව ගැන අපිට උජාරු.
    මෙයාමනෙ අර්ජුන පත්කිරීමට අත්සන ගැහැව්වෙත්.
    කොමිසන් වාර්තාව පෙන්නනව සිරිසේන පත්කරපු අර්ජුන කරපු වන්චාව හා රටටම කරපු පාඩුව.
    සිරිසේන මුලුවගකීම බාරගන්න ඕනි.
    රනිල්ට, රවිට හා වෙනත් අයට වගකීම පවරන්න බැහැ.
    සිරිසෙනගේ කඩුතලය මතට ඔහුම වැටිය යුතුය.
    Sirisena is carrying on about the Commission he appointed and its report on the biggest financial fraud in the country.
    He is the one who finally appointed Arjuna Mahendran by signing the documents of Arjuna’s apoointment.
    The Commission Report details the fraud, amount lost to the nation by sirisena’s appointment.
    Sirisena should take full responsibility for the appointment of Arjuna Mahendran.
    He cannot pass the responsibility to Ranil or Ravi or anyone else.
    Sirisena Should fall on his own sword.

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