Monday, 30 March 2015

Has the voter been taken for a ride?


Ceylontoday, 2015-03-30

The New Democratic Front (NDF) Government of SLFP leader and President Maithripala Sirisena and UNP leader and Premier Ranil Wickremesinghe were ushered in by the people of this country at the 8 January, 2015 Presidential Poll to bring about good governance, regain the robbed assets of the country allegedly plundered by the previous regime and to prosecute its offenders, assist in reconciliation and establish law and order.


In regard to the new government's commitment to 'regain the robbed assets of the country allegedly plundered by the previous regime and to prosecute its offenders,' it even went to the extent of bringing down a World Bank team specialized in investigating financial fraud and money laundering to Colombo, to assist it in this operation, which was given wide publicity in the local media.
They had also said that they would get the help of the Indians to assist them in this search. One wonders what expertise the Indians have in tracing robbed assets generally deposited in offshore bank accounts?
The Government media spokesman, Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne has even gone on record to say that a few powerful personalities of the previous regime were maintaining accounts in a Dubai bank with hundreds of millions of US dollars lying to their credit.

He had further said that he could not name those persons as investigations were underway.
In any case, Sri Lankans, unless they are dual citizens, cannot maintain overseas bank accounts. However, locals who are in the export business or are professionals, selling their services to overseas clients, may open foreign exchange accounts, but that too only in Sri Lankan banks or in foreign banks which have branches here, but not in the form of offshore bank accounts.
Nevertheless, a State controlled print media in its Saturday (28 March) edition went one step better by showing pictures of nearly a score of persons, powerful personalities during the previous regime, allegedly involved in acts of bribery and corruption.

The current regime is in to its third month of government. But yet, no plaint has been filed before court to take action against those who had allegedly plundered taxpayers' money. It appears to have gone through the motion of 'naming and shaming', but has not, or has not yet taken that key step of filing plaint in court to take action against such persons.
Representatives of the present government, to defend such seeming acts of pussyfooting, have said that they don't want to act like a kangaroo court, unlike the previous regime, implying that they adhere to the time honoured system of justice imparted by the ancient Romans that a man is innocent until he's proven guilty.

There was a time, when local newspapers, never published pictures, leave alone names of "allegedly accused" or accused persons, unless their guilt had been proven in a court of law or there was a prima facie case against such persons.
But politics have appeared to have got the better, vis-à-vis the maintenance of such standards.
Opposition leader Nimal Siripala de Silva addressing parliament the other day implied that other than Sirisena and Wickremesinghe, others in government weren't allegedly clean.

If that is so, the voter has been fooled by voting in the present government which hasn't lived up to its election promise of prosecuting offenders of the previous regime who had allegedly plundered state assets.
Sirisena has previously been quoted in the media of having had said that he would institute a Presidential Commission to investigate allegations of bribery and corruption, but this commission is yet to see the light of day.
Plundering state assets is a criminal offence. Generally, unlike civil offences, criminal offences are handled quicker in courts of law and verdicts delivered sooner than later. But the delay here is not at the courts' end, but, apparently at the authorities' end, such as by the Bribery Commission and the Attorney General, by seemingly taking up longer time than usual to file the required plaints in court.


Source:http://www.ceylontoday.lk/52-88712-news-detail-has-the-voter-been-taken-for-a-ride.html

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