By Correct Sri Lanka
The unfurling and rather sad socio economic and political landscape in Sri Lanka has been made more macabre and depressing with the antics of the Rajapakse offspring. This quartet being none other than Namal, Yoshitha, Rohitha and Shashindra. Rather than making this article gossip centred and superficial , what are the major substantive issues for governance as a result? The writers of the Correct Sri Lanka Campaign have the sole objective of correcting governance rather than go on a witch hunt of individuals, however great they maybe and however grave the offences they commit. Witch hunts and personal vendettas would make a Campaign with a greater purpose seem as petty as the regime it questions. However names need to be mentioned as a reference point for certain occurences.
At a recent seminar Eran Wickramaratne, MP, made a point succinctly and with clarity. In kangaroo run states such as Sri Lanka, “the real offender of good governance is nepotism”. Nepotism is a key feature of corruption. This is indeed the root cause analysis for the violation of the main elements of good governance which are participation, democracy, transparency and accountability. The Rajapakse offspring head this network of nepotism or circle of fire. The circle of fire is around 300 to 400 friends and relations as is well known controlling from state nerve centres to share holdings in existing businesses especially hotels, to having started new businesses such as Carlton Sports Network, Media Factory and Red Cherry with well known individuals as front persons.
It is also well evinced that the key state interventionist enterprises such as Sri Lanka Telecom, Sri Lankan Airlines, Mihin Air, Sri Lanka Lotteries Board, Sri Lanka Cricket to name a few have state planted CEOs who are but lackeys of key figures, who behave in a consistent pattern with no transparency and lack of participation of appropriate persons in mechanisms such as tender processes and pitches for advertising.
As concerns the topic under consideration, The Correct Sri Lanka Campaign wishes to question the transparency with which the key entity of image building and action centre for youth in Sri Lanka, Tharunyata Hetak is directed.
Today Tharunyata Hetak, in real terms Namalta Hetak, is projected as the foremost youth organization in Sri Lanka with the website www.youth.com. In this website there is very little about youth and a lot about Namal. Hence the name Namalta Hetak.
Questions to be raised about this organization in the interest of transparency;
– Is this a registered voluntary organization?
– From where does it receive funds and on what does it spend?
– Who are the office bearers besides Namal and Lalith Piyum Perera, the Chairman of the NYSC?
– Is Tharunyata (Namalta) Hetak serving the National Youth Services Council (NYSC) or vice versa?
– What is the legal connection to other related entities such as The Sports arm which is known as the Carlton Sports Club and the money spinning, but not so transparent, sports TV channel known as the Carlton Sports Network?
– Who funded the Carlton Super Sevens Rugby Tournament besides Sri Lanka Insurance, Mobitel and Nation Lanka Finance? (By the way Nation Lanka and Mobitel both have in the management teams the Nawaloka brothers and a grandson – more nepotism)
– From where was Rs 150 million received to get down Indian stars Preity Zinta, Bipasha Basu, Sameera Reddy and Vivek Oberoi? Were the contributions from the innocent and inactive public of Sri Lanka which forms the PLCs of the aforementioned sponsors?
– Will there be a properly audited statement of accounts furnished at least to the youth of Sri Lanka which is served by Tharunyata (Namalta) Hetak?
Correct Sri Lanka is certain that the Hon. Namal Rajapakse MP, being a lawyer educated and claiming to be a young politician of a different calibre, will have good answers to the above questions.
The entities mentioned above are the 3 pillars upon which the youth of Sri Lanka are supposed to depend. The role of the National Youth Services Council pales into insignificance in the face of such colour and vigour as that of Tharunyata (Namalta) Hetak. The image of Tharunyata (Namalta) Hetak, projects great values and capacity building for youth in the Rakiyawata Saviyak (support to employment) program, celebration of international Mother’s Day Programs, awarding of Russian Higher Education Scholarships interspersed with a number of sports activities such as Marathons, Carlton Rugby Super Sevens, Crickets matches, Motor Racing events etc.
Correct Sri Lanka also finds that sponsorships for events from enterprises such as SL Telecom, Mobitel and SL Insurance cannot be obtained by the right thinking charity organizers of the country as these are exclusively for events organized by high powered offspring. These donations/sponsorships do not take place in a transparent manner at all.
However the key question – Is Tharunyata (Namalta) Hetak really serving the youth of Sri Lanka? An interview with youth recently on matters pertaining to them resulted in a witty answer so true. They said in colloquial language -Tharunyata Hotak (nothing for the youth), Thaththatai, Namaltai Hetak (There is a tomorrow for the Father and Namal)
If Correct Sri Lanka were to demonstrate the cocktail of financial governance violations by one of the sponsors of Carlton Super Sevens, Mobitel is a good example. Mobitel’s CEO is Lalith de Silva, connected to influential persons, a former employee, lack lustre and inept, brought back to Mobitel as he would obey orders from the top. In very simple terms a recent advertising pitch by Mobitel worth Rs 750 million was awarded, violating all guidelines for selection of advertising agencies, to the Media Factory in which the Presidential off spring are stakeholders. Disgruntled heads of well known media agencies do not open their mouth for fear of reprisal in the form of removal of other standing advertising contracts or not receiving those in the pipeline.
Carlton Sports Network is a totally opaque enterprise. Several newspapers and well known media personalities are really concerned about the favouritism received by this network with no experience nor ability to meet requirements of a proper media network. This favouritism or rather nepotism is severely hampering the revenue earnings of state media institutions. The Sunday leader website has just reported that Carlton Sports Network is attempting to swipe off the telecasting rights for the 2012 Olympics from Rupavahini, which already lost a large slice of earnings from Cricket telecasts. This is also well documented under the violations of Sri Lanka Cricket in the COPE Report. There is also conflict of interest on the part of Sri Lanka Cricket’s Nishantha Ranatunga who is heading the Carlton Sports Network. What the public would like to know again, is the status and real ownership of this company as well as its balance sheet.
Would the public be pleasantly surprised by the fact that all the income from Carlton Sports Network is being channeled to the Youth and Sports development sector? Then truly, Correct Sri Lanka and the public can say that the Rajapaksa cubs have really come through by earning and investing meaningfully in the youth of Sri Lanka. Please do be transparent about this.