22 October, 2017

A Presidency Under Threat: Corruption And Commissions

By Rajiva Wijesinha –

Prof. Rajiva Wijesinha MP

Prof. Rajiva Wijesinha MP

There has been much exultation in some quarters in Sri Lanka about the conviction of Jayalalithaa, but I was glad to see that at least some articles also noted the need for stringent measures in Sri Lanka too, to combat corruption. One article however missed the point, in citing as an example of what needed to be dealt with firmly the Ceylinco case.

The failure to deal with that swiftly, and provide compensation to the victims of the scam, is indeed appalling. But that failure has to do with the delays, not necessarily arising from corruption, of our judicial system. Certainly we also need measures to make our courts move and it is sad that those have been forgotten. Though it is featured in the Human Rights Action Plan, as far as I can see no one has bothered about that plan following my resignation as Convenor of the Task Force to implement its recommendations.

But that is a different issue, and what we are talking about in Jayalalithaa’s case is the corruption of politicians. Now this is nothing new, and it also happens all over the world. I remember the scandals in Local Government in Britain when I was a student, more recently we had the horrors of the Bush administration dishing out contracts in Iraq to agencies in which senior officials had interests.

MahindaNearer home however aggrandizement seems to be excessive. The Jayalalithaa case is about disproportionate assets, and in Sri Lanka too it is the inordinate greed of those who are plundering the state which has skewered development plans whilst also contributing to the increasing unpopularity of the government. And sadly government seems to be conniving at this corruption, given the mechanisms it has set up this year, with no transparency, to spend public money.

Some parliamentarians have been allocated more than Rs 600 million for projects in their electoral catchment area, which in itself is grossly unjust, given also that elections are supposed to take place next year. But to compound the problem, there are no statutory methods of consultation and of project assessment, with the final decisions being made by the Minister of Economic Development – who is of course the man in charge of election campaigns.

Some Members do of course consult, and some do primarily have the interests of their constitutents at heart. Thus both Naveen Dissanayake, and Thilanga Sumathipala, explained how they had allocated the funds in their control, when the matter was discussed at length at the Consultative Committee on Public Management Reforms. But both public officials and other members of Parliament have noted the cases of individuals who are mainly concerned in awarding contracts with the commissions they will receive.

Many years ago my father noted that all Members of Parliament wanted to be Ministers, and all Ministers wanted to have portfolios that involved construction. He was hauled up before a Parliamentary Committee for saying this, at the insistence of a Minister who was said to have become unusually rich after several years in charge of a Ministry that involved massive construction work. Now however you do not have to be a Minister to award contracts, since virtually all Parliamentarians on the government side – I believe D E W Gunasekara and Rauff Hakeem and I are exceptions, for obvious reasons – have funds at their disposal which they can use for buildings.

But it is not only because of possible commissions that buildings are so popular. We have to remember that many politicians cannot plan coherently, so they do not bother about developing human resources, which is a much more complicated business. Then, buildings provide opportunities for opening ceremonies, and plaques in which names can feature prominently. The sheer cynicism with which the Education Ministry arranged the openings of several Computer Centres during the Uva Provincial Council election, having kept them closed for months beforehand, shows the aims of those expending public money – and this was admitted by the Minister of Education who, when I complained that computers which students might use were lying idle, explained that it was desirable that the people should know who had provided them with these benefits. The people of Uva however showed their contempt for such machinations in the way they voted, so I hope the President will understand that the current recipe for electoral popularity will not prove satisfactory.

So in Trincomalee last week I found that funds for education were to be expended primarily on buildings, whilst much is also spent on the provision of sports equipment. Nothing seems to have been done with regard to the needs expressed by the people for more teachers, for transport facilities, for language development and for vocational training.

I have therefore written to the Minister in charge of the area, raising some points that I have also raised with the Presidential Secretariat for the planning meeting for the North that is due to take place on October 13th. I was invited to this, surprisingly, given the deafening silence that greeted all my suggestions for measures to promote reconciliation over the last two years, but perhaps the penny has at last dropped, that decisions should be based on observation of the ground situation and the needs of the people, and intelligent thinking, none of which are characteristics of those who now make decisions.

With regard to Trincomalee, I noted that, as with Jaffna, ‘the following proposals can be put forward, to be implemented as effectively as possible in the coming year

a)    Better Vocational Training, with a strong soft skills component, in every Division. In my discussions with the relevant authorities in the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Skills Development, they have agreed to develop curricula to enhance productive employability, though this may also require some training of trainers (which is addressed below).

There is no need to construct new buildings for the purpose, since use can be made of schools as has been suggested in the excellent Northern Education Sector Review. Thus the computers distributed to several schools can also be used to the maximum. What is needed is to establish partnerships on the lines of those in the 5 centres I have set up in schools in the Wanni, with efforts also to inspire potential drop outs about the inclusive nature of schools. (The Ministry of Youth Affairs and the Ministry of Education should institutionalize the concept, with implementation in the hands of the Provincial Ministry of Education)

b)    The establishment of language centres in each Division that will develop bilingualism and trilingualism, whilst also promoting computer awareness and perhaps honing basic maths skills (the 5th language). These too could be set up in schools, and provide certification leading to a degree, which would also help with solving the problem of teachers. (The Ministry of National Languages and the Ministry of Education should institutionalize the concept, with implementation entrusted to the Provincial Ministry of Education)

c)     Mapping of schools in every Grama Niladhari Division, so that score cards are maintained at Divisional Secretariat level, along with coordination with the Divisional Education Office to improve conditions. For this purpose provision must be made to ensure that the cadre in Women and Children’s Units in each Division is filled, with additional trainees if necessary to allow members of the Unit to have responsibility for not more than 4 GN Divisions each. Facilities for regular monitoring of the status of children – including the provision of counselling and guidance – must be made available, through ensuring mobility for these primary agents of service delivery.

I suspect however that my letter will be ignored, or I will be told that allocations have already been made. And though the Secretary to the Ministry of Education does I think understand the need for more coherent spending to make education more meaningful for rural students, his hands seem to be tied. There has been no move, though nearly have three months have passed since the Northern Education Sector Review was published, to have a workshop on its recommendations.

The Review would have been an excellent planning tool for deployment of funds next year, and not only in the Northern Province. But given the political needs of the moment, given the facilitation of corruption that seems one principle purpose of the manner in which funds are now allocated, actual development in areas that do not allow for commissions has been put on the back burner. Unfortunately, given the way our electoral system functions, with the President being persuaded to have some sort of election every few months in an effort to use the only real asset the party has (regardless of the threat to his health and wellbeing), coherent development and effective and efficient use of public resources will remain on the back burner for a very long time.

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  • 5
    0

    Ok the baby Presi does not listen to your good advise. why not try crying?

    • 17
      0

      Professori,

      We, the people understand your deep seated frustration.

      However, you are dead scared of connecting corruption, commissions with The Clan, cronies & henchmen. Those who rob this impoverished country. From north to south. East to west.

      In a recent article you refered to “Crown Prince Wannabe” as a cheerful, good-hearted chap. The same lad according to General Fonseka & others, recently acquired the former Australian HC property in Colombo 7.

      Any ideas how on earth “The Cheerful Young Chap” financed that? With the meagre salary of a fresh MP?

      It is precisely due to this backboneless behaviour, I begged you to stay away from writing silly articles. Unless you are willing to stand up and fight. Sacrifice and go all the way.

      There is no point in living a long life on your knees, Professori. That too at desperately poor Sri Lankan tax-payer’s expense.

      Cheers!

      • 11
        0

        Ben too true. Rajiva may I add that Ceylinco depositors have not been paid back in full to date is definitely due to the corruption and interference of the MR clan, although you say it is not necessarily so. for example please investigate a few of the following;
        1- who acquired the Ceylinco property where the proposed Hyatt hotel was to be constructed? This was taken over on the guise of security.
        2- who owns the majority of the Ceylinco building?
        3- who is behind the financing of SOFTLOGIC? This company paid a paltry some to buy Ceylinco property next to Kothalawela’s residence? Incidentally SOFTLOGIC from just being a mobile importer 5 years ago has become one of the biggest companies having major investments in Colombo property (next to Liberty Plaza), hospitals, electronics and now Odel. They have also been given the Narahenpita Milco land which is over 5 acres of prime land. By whom and Why?
        4- what happened to Kothalawela’s stake in Seylan Bank, valued in 2008 at Rs.6.0 billion?
        5- Who bought The Finance Co major stake at an unbelievable value of Rs30 or 40 million?
        We can go on and on but to no avail unless there is a change of govt and then we can go after these buggers and drag them back by their testicles to the other side of the Benthara river.
        BEST THING THAT CAN HAPPEN IS FOR A CHANGE OF GOVT AND SARATH FONSEKA BEING APPOINTED AS DEFENSE MINISTER AND IN CHARGE OF INVESTIGATIONS OF ASSETS AND CORRUPTION OF THE INCUMBENT GOVT.

        • 5
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          Excellent info RICHARD! Please keep it coming.

          Was wondering a lot about the meteoric rise of SOFTLOGIC myself.

          Agree SF can deliver a deadly blow against corrupt cronies & henchmen. In a future new GOSL.

          Just the thought of that possibility would send shivers down spines of UPFA Big-Wigs. Would they leave him alive to get so far is a matter of concern.

          Cheers!

      • 3
        0

        He kisses the bo tree as his intoxications are considered ones who met with BUdda.

        He cuddles with infant, babies and young children sending the message how human he has been

        He expresses loud he could using all popularistic rhetorics on improving the lives of people

        He even travels to every corner of the country to open a small lab

        ————-

        But is this his real charactor ?

        If he is honest to him, why did his regime fail

        a) Mainitain price reduction at least to daily essentials
        b) spend more to Education than anything else
        c) spend more to bring more investment generating new fabrics as the soltuions of unemployment

        • 2
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          Intoxicated minds can drive a nation amoc.
          That is what we have been experiencing today.
          In the name of war victory – they the bunch in power are in the looting mode beyond all ethical and moral levels.

    • 3
      0

      Not only Presidency – today almost everyhting is under threat. What better we could expect if people would further allow rascals to guide them.
      The man in power is absolutely not even good enough to be exemplary man for the nation. We enjoyed decency and dignity of life decades ago, but today under the leadership of this man – almost everything has gone to all low levels.

    • 4
      0

      Prof. Rajiva Wijesinha MP

      RE: A Presidency Under Threat: Corruption And Commissions

      “There has been much exultation in some quarters in Sri Lanka about the conviction of Jayalalithaa, but I was glad to see that at least some articles also noted the need for stringent measures in Sri Lanka too, to combat corruption. One article however missed the point, in citing as an example of what needed to be dealt with firmly the Ceylinco case.”

      Professor, let’s start from the Top.The President Himself and his Corruption. He is trying to get a Third Term he is mot constitutionally not qualified to contest or get.

      Mahinda clutching at a straw

      http://www.lankatruth.com/home/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=7681:mahinda-clutching-at-a-straw-&catid=87:other-stories

      President Mahinda Rajapaksa has said at a meeting held at Killinochchi yesterday (12th) that he would abolish executive presidency if the TNA and Tamil Diaspora abandons Ealam and separatism.

      When coming forward for the presidential election in 2005 Mr. Mahinda Rajapaksa promised to abolish executive presidency unconditionally. However, in 2010 he changed the two term limitation that existed for presidency.

      There is a massive public opposition to the attempt to hold the presidential election two years before its term of six years concludes.

      The President is making false promises and coming out with blatant lies to repress the public opposition and to justify contesting for a third term point out political analysts.

      There is also the claim by many in legal sector that President Rajapaksa cannot contest a third term as he got himself disqualified to contest a third term when he was sworn in for his second term. They also say it is unethical for the President to contest for a third term.

    • 2
      0

      What goes through his head while bending and licked the Bo tree stu is nothing else ” please give more one more term to continue my abusive nature for rural dominated stupid folks, strengtherning me to be the most brutal dictator like Mugabes, Suharthos, Polots and the like”.

  • 12
    2

    This man is beating about the bush while there is rampant corruption right under his nose in the parliament from the president downwards. The world knows all about it but not this lying professor.

    I gave him a good piece of advice to write some good papers to international journals on his research if has done any, but keeps on writing trash!

    He is just trying to pull the wool over people’s eyes pretending everything around him is clean. Who knows, he himself may be involved.

  • 11
    0

    When will Rajiva Wijeysinghe realise the buck stops with his president. Where did young Namal R gwt so much money to import racing cars and set up a whole TV station? Should he not campaign for an inquiry into Namal R’s assets.

    Sure Jayalalitha is corrupt. But the judiciary went after her. Is such a thing possible here if one is a government sidekick?

    Up until today I have neither heard a critical word about the president, his siblings or his sons or his nephews or his aunts or his cousins…..etc;etc; from him or Dayan Jayatileke. Why, they don’t even have the guts to go after scoundrels like Meryvn Silva, but have no hesitation in attacking Ranil W at every turn.

    And then When will Rajiwa and Dayan become an honorable men like their fathers were?

    Aman

    • 3
      0

      Aman Peris@,

      the difference between them and their fathers: They the fathers had vision and wisdom while both mentioned above lack it. Every 10 years old s question raise in terms of current regime – make clear that they are over corrupted by all natures. They do whatever they the morons feel think is right witout questioning debating it in parliament today. Parliamentarians have not the least right today – that is becoming glass clear to the average easily today.Sadly the mentioned above obviously have nothing in their agendas than focusing on their selfish agendas. I sometimes raise it why both continously do so. Dont we have any other good candidates than Mahinda Rajapakshe to lead the nation ?

  • 9
    0

    Rajiva
    your lamentations are becoming increasingly boring to read as there is nothing new – same excreta looked under different colored lights. No one is interested as we know the govt is corrupt and we dont need further examples. Like in all your previous articles, you are the good guy; the only difference in this article is that Dayan and Tamara (as fellow angels) have been replaced with DEW and Hakeem.

    Resign from the official positions and MPship you hold in disgust or bring these up in parliament. If you cant do either, continue to enjoy the perks and keep quiet. Dayan J has been lately quiet, guess he is getting ready to be taken in a horse carriage to give his credentials in London. If you too are quiet, you might go to Maldives as its ambassador.

    Ceylinco affair is a sham. Lalith’s uncle Gamini Corea’s assets in Geneva were handled by the reputable and honorable law firm Julius & Creasy. Mysteriously the moment he passed away late last year the file was passed to a law firm down Kynsey road. The principal partner / owner is none other than CJ Mohan Pieris’ wife Priyanthi. No news of the assets being sold. One wonders to whose name they have been transferred at pepper corn prices. So if you want you can talk about it in your next article and how you exposed it.

  • 10
    0

    Rajiva & Dayan are government discards who are now trying to write themselves back into popularity. However both these learned people cleverly skirt around the President and his family who are the root cause of this nation’s economic, social and political rot. The President has been corrupt from the time he stole money from Tsunami funds from his own people. This President is drunk with power after wining an election by bribing the LTTE to prevent Tamil people from voting if not he would have be farming in Hambantota today and his sons would have riding push bicycles. Not fancy cars and motorbikes.

    Its a fact he was never the choice of the majority of people in this country. He has robbed us of our democratic right in electing a legitimate government for this country. This man and his family are robbers and thieves all wrapped in one. I don’t know why Rajiva and Dayan dont state this clearly in their articles. it beats me???

  • 8
    0

    I have only one thing to ask this Hon MP, with all due respects, that him to reflect back on the youtube video clip in which he delivers short speech before the UNHRC in 2009 soon after war giving answers to the UN body.

    In this speech the Hon MP reiterates that SL is a poor country and it can not afford exorbitant hotel costs etc. time and again to come and waste poor country’s money to answer to the UNCHR meaningless questions…..

    Since then, see what has happen now? Not only in terms of what they were saying on us, where are we as a country before the rest of the world? Are we really a poor nation, taking in to account of the Rs 1000 million splashing on your big boss’s recent wasteful holiday at NYC? He stayed in the most expensive hotel which not even Germany, EU, UK richest country leaders did not choose to stay? Some of those most influential leaders stayed on in usual 5 star hotels with no-more than 4-5 officials with them.

    Hon. MP Wijesinghe, what is your stance on that declaration you were making then. Do you not believe that even you were mislead by the president? Your education and your scholarly dignity must must fall below the gentlman’s, level the least sir. Is this not really more than a joke before the world stage?

    I thank you
    Senaka

    • 4
      0

      Sorry Prof. Wijesinghe

      Correction in comment:

      Your education and your scholarly dignity must not*** fall below the gentlman’s, level the least sir. (I have great respect on you, don’t like to see its diminishing from our hearts)

    • 11
      1

      Senaka de Z. Sirwardena,

      There is no point in asking Professori about these matters.

      Next time, King Kong returns to KIA after his annual gigantic UN Junket for countless cronies & henchmen in NYC, people of Sri Lankla themselves should meet and greet him.

      Few questions the public can ask King Kong upon arrival at KIA:
      1. Why only Waldorf Astoria as a hotel?
      2. How much did you spend?
      3. Where did you get the funds to spend so lavishly?
      4. What have you so far achieved after all that spending each year?
      5. Are Sri Lankan aircraft your family’s private property?

      Give the Professori a break.

      Cheers!

  • 14
    0

    I did a quick calculation how much Vass Gunawardena has stolen from people.

    Now, He would be swindling the money out of loans made to Sri Lanka. So essentially, the tax payer must pay back the amount he stole + interest. I estimate ordinary Sri Lankans will end up paying around USD $45 million. This amounts to Rs 5,877,000,000.00 ( 5 and a half billion rupees ).

    Mind you, Vass is only the tea boy. How much are the real Sinhala Buddhist patriots swindling?

    Lets say 10 x times this much, so that would be around Rs 50 billion each. Just to give some perspective, Upper Kotmale Hydropower Project cost Rs.44 billion.

    So each of the top swindlers must be pocketing enough to complete a Hydropower Project project.

    1. 7 helicopters and a company called Cosmos Avaiation + Offices – $500,000 x 7 = $5,000,000
    3. Owns a luxury 15 roomed luxury mansion at Horton Place Colombo 7 (with large swimming pool,jacuzzi and elevator facility – $500,000
    2. 100 roomed Luxury Ameythist Resort in Passikudah – $2,000,000
    4. Owns a 79 room resort in Maldives – $1,000,000
    5. Owns a fleet of Benz,Jaguar,and other luxury vehicles. – $2,000,000
    6. 23 room mansion in Toorak, Melbourne, in the millionaires’ row. – $3,000,000
    7. The block of 16 apartments in Pitt Street, Sydney City Centre. – $2,000,000
    8. Part owner of the racehorse Black Caviar, (Australian Thoroughbred undefeated in 25 races) with the Emir of Kuwait. – $2,000,000
    9. A vineyard (350 Ha) in Borossa Valley, South Australia – $3,000,000

    $5,000,000.00
    $500,000.00
    $2,000,000.00
    $1,000,000.00
    $2,000,000.00
    $3,000,000.00
    $2,000,000.00
    $2,000,000.00
    $3,000,000.00

    Total – USD$ 20,500,000

    Total cost over 20 years @ 6% – USD$ 45,500,000

    • 10
      1

      Well done Vibhushana!

      Please publish somewhere with more access to the idiotic Sri Lankan electorate.

      Cheers!

    • 8
      0

      No point blaming Sajin. Who is allowing him to steal? Why the reluctance to put the blame on MR?

    • 1
      0

      Dear Rajiva could you comment on the expose made by Vibhushana re how Sajin Vaas acquired all that wealth. This is a very serious matter. THe leader of the opposition and all concerned opposition party leaders should take this matter up urgently at the next sitting of Parliament. Is the Tax department and Bribery Commission blind to not chase this fellows financial dealings. Could this information be widely published in the local Sinhala and Tamil press. What has the President got to say re this information.Can someone in the press ask this question from him, he obviously will back off as he and his family are all involved in this money stealing racket with Sajin the thug and racketeer.This man should have been immediately stood down after the Dr. Nonis slapping incident.Why are the opposition Parliamentarians silent? When is this inquiry? And who are the unbiased members.

  • 4
    0

    Presidency under threat?

    All because he isn’t a leader but a follower of votes!

    Most undemocratically and immorally he has been refusing to publish the reports of Commissions appointed by himself except that by LLRC. Not publishing the reports mean collusion with the culprits.

    Had he kept publishing the reports that he continued to receive from the Commissions over the years, corruption wouldn’t be gobbling up the country as it does now.

  • 4
    0

    Professor

    Please get out of your disillusion by reading the article by Chandra Jayaratne:
    Citizens Must Be The Vibrant, Independent And Capable Opposition posted on 14 October 2014 on this website.

  • 4
    0

    Professori,

    I read, as always, your letter carefully, and my depression multiplied with one half-sentence towards the end, viz “””I suspect however that my letter will be ignored,”””

    Most spurned pests will retreat before being told to ‘fuck off’.

    Have some dignity Professori, the object of your desire has fallen out of love with you. He is looking at other loves now. All your public entreaties are only taking your dignity down, notch by notch.

    Keep what little respect you have; take a sabbatical.

  • 4
    0

    dear Rajiv when you say: “And sadly government seems to be conniving at this corruption, given the mechanisms it has set up this year, with no transparency, to spend public money”; to whom are you referring?. You mourn the fact that “D E W Gunasekara and Rauff Hakeem and you are exceptions, for obvious reasons – have funds at their disposal which they can use for buildings”. it is high time you started when the going is good. You have only a few more months left.Bensen

  • 4
    0

    Hi Professor,

    By your message ” A Presidency Under Threat “, what are you trying to convey to the ordinary people.
    Are you worried about your master MARA losing the Presidency ? Or Are you concerned about the image of SL and the plight of ordinary citizens ?.

    Whatever your intention may be it is time for you to call a spade a spade.
    What I mean is can you express your views without hitting around the bush within 25 sentences whether keeping the executive Presidency system is good for the country and the people ? If it is not good , when should it be changed, before the next presidential election or after the elections? If it is after the election, what is the guarantee that the incoming president and the govrnment will carry out the promise ?

  • 3
    0

    If Sajin can make all this money by simply being the pimp and bag boy, I want to learn the art of pimping too!

    And, the best part is the story about how the first family discusses the old-man’s philandering….

    Let’s not forget all the TV stars who have shared his couch and obtained nominations and appointments.

    I heard there is a new grading system in the Colombo pimping circuit. Tele-drama and Actress are the much promoted grades. I can’t figure out the difference and will defer to the experienced to comment.

  • 4
    0

    Seems that the learned proffesor cannot read. If he is abke to read these comments he will stop writing muck.

  • 1
    0

    when the election is near ,they will not kiss boo tree even bold of any man to secure vote bag for election if not you have to use drug dealers to wind election as usual but it cost for them.

  • 4
    0

    Prof:

    Thanks for Part 3 and my advice to you is to Change the heading from

    A Presidency Under Threat: Corruption And Commissions

    to

    A Nation Under Threat from Corruption and Commissions under the following sub headings.

    1) GREED: For Money & Power
    2) Lack of and respect for Rule of Law
    3) Nepotism
    4) Lack of Accountability.

    You will find that as a result of all of the above it is the Nation which is under threat and that is far more important than what happens to the Presidency.

    You have got your priorities wrong.

  • 1
    0

    I cannot believe this [Edited out] prays to a tree. Tree? What an idiot :). What the heck is a tree going to do? [Edited out]

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