Many organisations that rallied behind the Sirisena-Wickremesinghe coalition, enabling it to dislodge the Rajapaksa government more than two years ago, expected the new dispensation to bring about a radical change. But, what they have got by way of yahapalanaya or good governance is like the curate’s egg. They are in the same predicament as Mr. Jones in the famous Punch cartoon. They are reluctant to tell the truth; instead they claim that part of yahapalanaya is excellent!
The Cabinet has decided against extending the term of the Anti-corruption Committee Secretariat (ACCS) under the Prime Minister’s Office. Some yahapalana big guns have sought to justify the abolition of this outfit by claiming that it did not serve the intended purpose. If so, the FCID (Financial Crimes Investigation Division) must also be done away with immediately. For, it has not taken any action against those responsible for the biggest ever financial fraud in this country—the Central Bank bond scam, which will enter the Guinness book as the most probed racket in the world. The only purpose the FCID has served, in our book, is to help the government target its political rivals who are struggling to make a comeback.
True, the Rajapaksa government was full of crooks who amassed a great deal of ill-gotten wealth. They must be thoroughly investigated as a national priority and brought to justice without further delay. Let the newly built Angunakolapalessa prison be their home for the rest of their lives if they are found guilty, of course, after fair trials. But, it doesn’t make any sense to maintain a financial crimes investigative outfit with public funds if it does not probe huge frauds and instances of corruption under the present government.
The JVP has told the media that the anti-corruption outfit under the PM’s Office has been done away with because it started probing several ministers allegedly involved in corrupt deals amounting to over ten billion rupees. The JVP has made no revelation. It has only repeated what the media has been saying all these months. That the present administration is full of corrupt ministers and their political masters are shielding them while condemning the prominent members of the previous regime for corruption is only too well known. JVP Propaganda Secretary Vijitha Herath, MP has listed several instances of corruption under the present adminstration. Besides, State Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena has confirmed that the Agriculture Ministry has paid as much as Rs. 22.5 million a month as rent for a building without occupying it.
Co-Cabinet Spokesman and Health Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne has gone on record as saying the government has spent Rs. 65 million on the ACCS without gaining anything in return. Will he explain how funds were spent? If that outfit has really failed, then the person/s responsible for reviewing its progress must be held answerable. Above all, this being the fate of an outfit supervised by the PM’s Office, how can anyone expect other institutions under the purview of lesser ones in the yahapalana government to be efficient?
The JVP was one of the architects of the yahapalana government. Having joined forces with the SLFP dissidents and the UNP to topple the Rajapaksa government, the JVP became part of the National Executive Council of the yahapalana administration after the Jan. 2015 regime change. Now that it is convinced that the yahapalana government is corrupt to the core what does it propose to do? What is needed is action. Words are of little use in combating corruption. Unless the JVP translates its rhetoric into action it will be seen to be running with the hare and hunting with the hounds.
The Joint Opposition (JO) is maniacally focused on attacking President Maithripala Sirisena while behaving like the three proverbial monkeys as regards allegations against the UNP. The TNA is preoccupied with devolution and the UNHRC call for a war crimes probe. It is blind to all other issues. The JVP ‘floats like a bee and stings like a butterfly’ as regards allegations against the UNP-led government; the same goes for the self-important civil society worthies. Their bark is worse than their bite. The country, the JO says, is without a government. It is also without an Opposition.