By Malinda Seneviratne –
There’s a term that even those who use it at every turn these days hadn’t heard or understood not too long ago. Yahapalanaya or Good Governance. There’s another word that is now being used a lot which was almost unheard of and which, even now, is not quite understood: bonds.
Regardless of familiarity or knowledge there are certain definitive statements that can be made of both. Today, it is clear that few believe that this Government is serious about Yahapalanaya because it is being observed in the breach. We need not elaborate. With respect to bonds, it is clear that the integrity of key players including the Governor of the Central Bank is severely compromised.
Arjuna Mahendran is under a cloud. A dark cloud. There are calls for his removal. Of course some of those who want him removed have objectives that have nothing to do with the alleged wrongdoing and indeed they don’t even have the moral right to make such demands having been directly or indirectly involved in or sanctioned one way or another similar acts during the previous regime. However, that alone is not reason enough to dismiss objections to Mahendran remaining as Governor. The findings of even the ‘friendly’ committee appointed to inquire into the Central Bank Bond Issue last year alone would be sufficient to warrant caution (in the very least) when contract renewal comes up.
There are other worrisome factors. The Big Beneficiary of the process is Arjun Aloysius, the Governor’s son-in-law. The inquiring committee clearly expressed suspicion over what appears to be inside knowledge of decisions about to be taken by the Central Bank which, eventually, translated into big takings for Aloysius. The Bank of Ceylon was named as a possible accomplice and an inquiry into its behavior strongly recommended.
How did Arjun Aloysius become a billionaire overnight? Central Bank bonds. Who is the Big Boss of Central Bank bonds? His father-in-law. There are dots and they will be joined. There’s another possible joining of dots: Aloysius and the Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake. They are very good friends. Now, a person claiming to be a senior officer in the Finance Minister, writing on the basis of anonymity in Colombo Telegraph and going solely on statements made by the Minister on the ‘Face the Nation’ show on Sirasa TV opines, ‘Karunanayake appeared to be unaware of the loss caused by the Bond issuance’. Whether or not this is true, the Minister must surely know that there were massive benefits to his friend.
Today it would be hard to find anyone in the Central Bank or anyone who is well versed in these kinds of matters openly supporting the Governor or championing his ‘innocence’. The President has called for his removal. Several of Karunanayake’s colleagues in the Cabinet have echoed this call. Staunch supporters of Maithripala Sirisena’s presidential bid have followed suit. There is a lot of pressure, then, on the Prime Minister at this point.
There may be people who want the Prime Minister to eat humble pie. However, there can be more than one reason for him to act decisively in this matter and still come off strong with his much-talked-of integrity intact. Ranil Wickremesinghe is often described an intransigent man who is not easily swayed by objection or show of strength. He has a reputation for standing by what he believes is correct, however unpopular it may be. He is also a person who has expressed more confidence in systems as opposed to personalities – hence his abiding interest in institutional reform. He believes in checks and balances.
It was during his previous tenure as Prime Minister that the 17th Amendment was passed (although it was the JVP that brought it up in Parliament). He was Prime Minister when the counter-democratic 18th Amendment was effectively abrogated and the 19th Amendment passed, thereby re-constituting independent commissions on the lines of the 17th Amendment. As such he must see the folly of appointing loyalists or friends to positions of immense authority such as the one Mahendran holds right now. The previous Governor was a political appointee. This Government was opposed to such appointments. Mahendra to be fair had certain credentials, but nevertheless his appointment has to be understood as a continuation of a bad precedent. The Bond Issue controversy emphasizes this point. Qualified and experienced officials of the Central Bank were not considered for the post by the previous regime. That’s how Nivard Cabraal became Governor. It was a bad precedent. It was also a travesty of justice to those who were in line for that position in terms of seniority and capability. The Prime Minister would find it hard to say that there was no one in the Central Bank or any other state institution who was as capable as Mahendran. His edge may have been ‘trust’ but that is exactly where Mahendran has let the Prime Minsiter down.
It is high time that sobriety returned to the business of appointing people to offices that can have a sweeping effect on the entire population as well as the overall economic health of the country. It is shocking, in short, that the Constitutional Council has no say in the appointment of the Central Bank Governor. There is no screening process whatsoever. The Prime Minister can and must use this moment to put the institutional arrangement in order. It is not about Mahendran and his possible deceit that should govern the decision – it is the drive to put in robust systems which include clean, transparent and morally defensible recruitment.
Of course there will be detractors who will try to make political capital in the event that Mahendran is not re-appointed. On the other hand, a brave and necessary decision coupled with a strong statement reiterating the general principles of Good Governance can only help. He could also indulge in a little democracy-play on heeding the voice of the people. This will allow the Prime Minister to recover something of what he has lost in the matter of integrity with respect to the vexed issue of the Central Bank Governor and the Bond Issue scandal.
*Malinda Seneviratne is a freelance writer whose articles are archived on his blog, www.malindawords.blogspot.com. Email: email@example.com. Twitter: malindasene
Amarasiri / June 15, 2016
RE: Arjuna Mahendran Issue: Ranil’s Credibility At Stake
Despite the Mahendran Fiasco, Ranil’s Credibility is better than the Credibility of Mahinda Rajapaksa, you shoyld know as a cronies of Mahinda Rajapaksa.
Of course it will decline, not to the lowest levels of Mahinda Rajapaksa.
MaRa MaRa Chatu MaRa Amana MaRa….
Jagath Fernando / June 16, 2016
Before we talk about credibility of RW, it is your credibility which is at stake.
Which side are you now ? Looks like you have joined MS band wagon now!!!
Funlover / June 16, 2016
It is high time Amarasiri and those others who are as shortsighted stop shooting the messenger.
The process to get back the Mr Clean on to the wise and virtuous path needs every assistance it can get. There is no need to feel that such acts only go to exalt the Rajapakses. Nothing can exalt the pig shit (i.e. shit of the shit)that they are.
Ranil is an intransigent fool. Let’s straighten him out. Let me say it again: The process needs every grain, atom of support that can be garnered.
Let me contribute: Ranil, behave like a Prime Minister; if you can’t, get out.
desh / June 16, 2016
I am sorry, who made you president to tell the PM to get out?
Funlover / June 16, 2016
Go learn some English comprehension you Ranil [Edited out]
Amarasiri / June 17, 2016
“Ranil is an intransigent fool. Let’s straighten him out.”
Can agree on that, especially, as far as dealing with Mahendran is concerned.
“Let me say it again: The process needs every grain, atom of support that can be garnered. Let me contribute: Ranil, behave like a Prime Minister; if you can’t, get out.”
Can agree on that too!
Is Ranil a Child? Is he the “Prime” Minister?
What is his IQ? Did he go “Royal” College? Did he go to the University? What Happened to to common sense and critical thinking skills?
He needs to show leadership, and give a respectable exit to Mahendran, and move on.
Rajapaksas had to be pushed out by the people.
sr / June 17, 2016
They both have zero credibility whether the misappropriation is just 100 or a million.
Dinuk / June 15, 2016
Ranil is digging his own grave. Now Civil society and good governance activists will join with JO and run Ranil and Mahendran out of town!
Civil society and good governance activists know that Mahdenran is a corrupt crook and has been indulged in insider trading with his son-in-law and done various bond scams.
Mahendran is also NOT a qualified Economist with an Advanced Degree doctorate and there are far more qualified and honest people for the job.
Mahendran and his equally stupid Minister Ravi K are getting Sri Lanka into a Greece like DEBT TRAP with help and advice from the IMF!
IMF should be helping Sri Lanka to track down the funds stolen and held in off shore bank accounts by corrupt politicians and business men to reduce the national Debt trap, rather than pushing for so called economic ‘reforms’ which will make the rich richer and poor poorer. TRICKLE UP is the name of the IMF game!
Adams / June 16, 2016
“IMF should be helping Sri Lanka to track down the funds stolen and held in off shore bank accounts by corrupt politicians and business men to reduce the national Debt trap, rather than pushing for so called economic ‘reforms’ which will make the rich richer and poor poorer. TRICKLE UP is the name of the IMF game! “
IMF is a white only bank and its constitution is clear like any other bank which lends Like all banks it is not a policeman for 3rd world skulduggery.
If you have proof use the appropriate channels- Interpol.
Neither India or China with reserves was prepared to give more so in came Samanta Power to rescue or there would be scarcity of goods this very moment.
Another Bond Issue of $3 billion is due within months.
IMF loan is the same as Marshall Plan given to UK, Germany, Japan. they did not squander but worked hard and paid all dues in 50 years.(Uk paid last year)
You have never run a company to understand what a bank loan means and how it works asking for reforms to safeguard its wealth unless you provide appropriate collateral. Therefore a good company would try its best not to borrow from bank and some go public with shares.
Communism and Religion thrive in poor economies- thats your road with the rich 1% casinos,harems, substance,weapons.
Enjoy the vote you cast on 8th Jan 2015.
Plato. / June 15, 2016
Ranils credibility was never at stake![Edited out]
cwe takaran hora / June 16, 2016
Linar / June 15, 2016
Ranil’s credibility has always been at stake, in politics and out of politics. Its not worth knowing, but to refresh minds its worth mentioning.
ramona therese fernando / June 15, 2016
It all amounts to a blatant disrespect of the Common Man’s money!
ramona therese fernando / June 16, 2016
OMG! Don’t tell me : The billions made out of blatant disrespect of Common Man’s money, is going to be used for the Land-Bridge deal!!!
ramona therese fernando / June 16, 2016
ok…that was a bit harsh….. but hope they don’t hope to exonerate the billions on the above said.
Rajah / June 16, 2016
Mahendran was Managing Director of HSBC Private Banking Singapore. This is an outfit of HSBC looking after the wealth of the rich. Similarly, he was Chief Investment Officer of Emirates National Bank, Dubai’s wealth management division. He is an economics graduate of Oxford University and worked in the Central bank in his early career. The question is whether he is suitable for the position. No doubt he has excellent investment management skills (he was a regular commentator in BBC on Singapore and Far East economy)and has the personality to market our country internationally, will be a good person to talk to IMF, World Bank.So, it is good to have him as the face of the central bank and have competent economists to advise him and strong governance and oversight systems to ensure the Bank functions according to its policies and laws of Sri Lanka. Cabraal was on the other hand a very clever accountant at Ford Rhodes Thornton but doesn’t have the personality for a international audience. Mahendran like Raghuram Rajan India’s Reserve Bank Governor are sons of diplomats. So, they have grown up in multi cultural environments and can talk to an international audience. That is why Ranil appointed Mahendran. We need to have good faces to have Sri Lanka noticed.
kudu jayaratne / June 16, 2016
*We need to have good faces to have Sri Lanka noticed.*
Idiot! Good faces make good arses and are also a cover for many bad things including raping and plundering the country with the son-in-law.
Native Vedda / June 16, 2016
“Idiot! Good faces make good arses”
Samuel Jayaweera / June 17, 2016
sADLY Kudus are the majority of our island, so no edcuated will have the chance there. So long Kudus will stay uneducated, we the minority educated will have to wait. That is what I feel. This is not focusing on Arjuna but also other higher professionals longing to return and give their services to their native country- me being a profesional in Europe, do feel the same – it will not be easy to get on with lanken corrupted, and highly abusive men even if you have the experience to create tangible changes to prevailing stagnated systems in the country.
rajamahal / June 16, 2016
“Cabraal was on the other hand a very clever accountant at Ford Rhodes Thornton but doesn’t have the personality for a international audience.”
Cabraal was one who could put the whites in their place.We have listened to him on hard talk.
“Mahendran like Raghuram Rajan India’s Reserve Bank Governor are sons of diplomats. “
Stupid man You don’t know what you are saying.
Dr Raghu (gold medalist from school to PG) is the son of a detective RAW New Delhi. You can’t compare him with anyone as he is a stand alone the best in the world at present.
“We need to have good faces to have Sri Lanka noticed. “
we all have 3 faces so you better run your beauty parlour and tie up with the Muslims to run a harem and sell pus-cake.
harry hatton / June 16, 2016
If Mahendran is such a hot economist and international spokesman and in great demand internationally why did he come and work as boss of the BOI when Ranil was PM before ?
Mahendran had no high paying job then obviously. But he used his job at the BOI as a qualification to get a jog in Singapore later.
Today Ranil has appointed a very political criminal lawyer to the same job at the BOI. Shows what kind of a job that is.
Charlie Mahendran is a person who went places in the diplomatic service because of his UNP politics. If he was a true civil servant how come he is considered a all out supporter of the UNP?
Jay / June 16, 2016
Get rid of your Royal college buddy for the sake of our mother land. Because you ar PM this is not your dowry to take descicions as you wish going against public opinion and carry out like MR. This will be your downfall.
marconi / June 16, 2016
If Ranil knew the meaning of credibility he would have been a much loved and sought after politician. A politician who would have come into power without the help of others and his cronies.
Alas ! he never knew how to shore up his credibility and it has always been at stake. The guy has a personality complex that is the cause of all his undoings and it has been with him all through his life.
As Sri lankans call a ” Radalaya” complex, ” i come from a esteemed family background and therefore no one can tell me where i am wrong.”
To put it simply he is like a frog in the well not knowing that there are better sri lankans out there with much better credibility, personality,
etc who will run circles round him.
Don Quixote / June 16, 2016
Who are you Malinda, to questions ANYBODY’s credibility ?
Historian / June 16, 2016
Ranil’s credibility (a myth to begin with?) is in tatters and, immune to criticism as he appears to be, there is no sign of any change to come in the near future.
Also, your question, “How did Arjun Aloysius become a billionaire overnight?” is a good one and deserves an answer. However, one wonders why you never raised such questions with regard to the sudden accumulation of wealth by Namal, Yoshita and family during their heyday?
Credibility is vital to many, not least to ‘reporters’, ‘editors’ and such, so you would do well to try to restore some of it in your own views, as most readers (as no doubt you would have noticed) consider you to be properly biased when it suits your agenda.
History can also be a bitch!
Teresa / June 16, 2016
Historian: “History can also be a bitch!”
This reminds me of what my good friend the Dalai Lama once told me.
He said, “Karma is like a female dog who will bite you in the buttocks when you least expect it”.
shankar / June 16, 2016
“Arjuna Mahendran Issue: Ranil’s Credibility At Stake”
not only credibility,but also his job is at stake.This perennial loser was given his last chance like manna from heaven,and now you can see why he always was a loser,it was because of his stubborn streak.He got this job not due to his abilities or fondness of the masses for him,but because of sirisena taking that bold and life threatening step.Now the guy who always lived with a silver spoon in his mouth and got the job easily due to his uncle, is on the way out as each year progresses and taxes are increased to fund lavish lifestyles of col 7.
Spring Koha / June 16, 2016
Give us a break; Ranil’s credibility at stake????????
Ranil lost his credibility soon after that old Batalanda business.
Thamilan / June 16, 2016
This Arjuna is the first Tamil appointed by Ranil to a top position when he came to power and he has become a disgrace to all Tamils
Shariff / June 16, 2016
What credibility? We voted for a change and we got a incapable Prim minister.Man has been a failure for so many times and again. Every friend you try to protect, is selling the match for you.Simply with all this flack and mud why is this Mahendran not resigning to save his friend ? So thick and shameless.PM is on his way out, especially he doesn’t care for people’s opinion. Don’t plan for 2035, show us a positive and a hopeful tomorrow before its too late.Start with Central Bank and Sri Lankan Airlines.
Ajantha / June 16, 2016
what credibility for Ranil. He is one of the most corrupt people in the government trying to save the biggest rogue at any cost.
we are not talking about his paper qualifications. The discussion is on his credibility.
KA Sumanasekera / June 16, 2016
Did Batalanada have any !!!!
My Elders tell me he promised,22 Karat bracelets for Boys , Not sure what was for the Girls.
He also promised Mobile Phones to Boys before the IPhones came.
This time Batalanada promised One Million jobs for dalits to assemble Beetles .
He seems to have done a credible job in certain areas to help the Elite among the Yahapalana suckers.
His mate Galleon got all the exiles back to Bloemendhal.
Now our Elite get Brazil Coke instead of Kerala Herb which the UNP alleged that the previous Regime was importing.
The UNP even accused Dr Mervyn.
There have been two previous shipments of Heroin since the Yahapalanaya kicked in..
The current one is pure Coke which is now in Urugodawatta, waiting collection.
My mates tell me even the Americans use “Crack” because pure “Coke” costs big bucks.
Batalanada’s mate Galleon called the Media Scrum to deny that he is involved.
And he has asked the UNP Police to investigate LnakaCnews.
But Galleon proudly said the Inhabitants today are flushed with cash.because of Yahapalana Economics.
Wonder whether that is the clue to our importers upgrading to Heroin and now Brazilian Coke from that Kerala stuff which our Dalits used to enjoy every now and then.
cwe takaran hora / June 16, 2016
“My Elders tell me he promised,22 Karat bracelets for Boys , Not sure what was for the Girls.”
See-through PVC Bras for the girls.
Shariff / June 16, 2016
Oh PM, you are giving numbers, means nothing to us. 2035 Mega polis,2000 education offices in provinces,Wi-Fi in every city,Three member panel,one million jobs,these are just words in the big blue sky.Sell CPC,sell Ports,Airline and bring in friends to help you to sell them.We did not vote for you specifically, if we wanted to sell these.You are blinded by some fallacy that you think your best choices are what people so badly waited.John Viagra,Arjun Bond,Ajith Free ticket Dias,Ratwattes’Bros Paski the UK tiger,they are the people who will push you off the cliff.Surely,you got to be much brighter than that,without depending on these guys.Use your intuition,your political instinct.Look over your shoulder, Gota the turtle is fast approaching the winning post.He is strong and willing for action, winning masses and forces.USA,Europe will not come to your rescue but it’s the common people can lift you up, get a strong coordinating secretory to fill in your weak areas, not a gentle Puffy from Royal.
Mallaiyuran / June 16, 2016
Malinda has struggled throughout the essay to rebuild and/or restore his credibility as a writer that has leaked through the WiFi of his laptop. He believes Ranil too can do it. “This will allow the Prime Minister to recover something of what he has lost in the matter of integrity with respect to the vexed issue of the Central Bank Governor and the Bond Issue scandal.”
But his mistake is writing as Ranil is just refusing to investigate CB bond deals, though Malinda understand the game. If Ranil investigate this, he has to lent to UNHRC too. “Of course there will be detractors who will try to make political capital in the event that Mahendran is not re-appointed.” So, even after Malinda understands the name of the game, but still like to see Mahendran to go. That is his racist nature – because Mahendran, irrelevant of whether he knows/speaks Tamil or not, but he has a Tamil name.
It appears Aloysius got the job for Mahren rathern than he got it with his credentials. That appears to be the in clue in Malinda’s writings. He was brought in by the corrupted politicians to be used in their deals. We know Murali’s brother has been importing alcohol to the earlier, Old Royals. Murali sold the famous deal of Dole’s land under Ambassador Blake’s Time. He was even having game with PM David Cameron.
The empty vessel communist Joint Comedians are kept on the knife’s edge by the Old Royals to use this opportunity to regain some of the lost popularity or even to get the power back. Those communist fools, Vasu, Wimal, Denesh with bald headed monk Udaya are cutting the branch they are sitting on. That is the nature of the 2 century old communist theories, painted with Valuthukuraincha(invalid) Lefts color. But ranil promised in the election that “No leader, No commander, No Soldier will be investigated”. This is the high time he has to show the marvelous ability of the Aappa diplomacy at UNHRC. The empty vessel communists are struggling themselves to get caught. That is the dilemma Ranil is facing.
Rajah / June 16, 2016
You are a idiot. I am sure you must be a frog in the well not been out of Sri Lanka. Do you know most of the success comes from charisma, personality, communication skills and not brains. If you send a Vidyodaya graduate (not to insult the esteemed institution but to raise a point)to speak at World Economic Forum, IMF, World bank we will get nothing. Unless the Vidyodaya graduate is exceptional home grown like N.U.Jayawardena. Our MPs and some ministers portray a pathetic figure and this brings disrepute to Sri Lanka. Look at how Ronnie De Mel, Lalith Athulathmudali, Lakshman Kadirgamar, Gamini Corea performed and got world respect. So, we need Mahendran at any cost but he has to be controlled. Raghuram Rajan’s father was in RAW as part of the Indian Embassy but in different countries and that gave Raghuram opportunity to study in Sri Lanka, Switzerland etc. So Kudu stop your narrow minded thinking.It will be like SWRD starting swabasha and this resulted in our human capital lacking proficiency in english and globally less attractive.
colin / June 17, 2016
Ranil hitches his wagon to honesty,integrity enhancing his credibility,
Will not fall prey to poison pens using him catspaw to hide their duplicity.
Carrying Uncle Dick’s genes Ranil could read through journos hidden intentions,
These scribes could finally end up biting nails in desperate frustrations
Don Quixote / June 17, 2016
Looks like the POXY yapping chorus is back.
Led by one paid “journalist” with all the others yapping in chorus.
You buggers lost, now shut up and let this mob try to make a difference !