23 July, 2024

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Billions Of Dollars Of Tsunami Aid Disappeared

By Latheef Farook

Latheef Farook

It is eighteen years today since devastating Tsunami struck mainly the east coast of the island on December 26, 2004 and snatched away almost one percent of the Muslim population there.

Billions of dollars of foreign aid poured into the country for Tsunami victims. However many   said that they didn’t get any aid and they did not know where the aid money went.  According to one report, money was feverishly transferred not only to government establishments, but also to accounts of individuals, companies and charity organizations. 

Sri Lanka’s then deputy executive director of the anti-graft organization Rukshana Nanayakkara said: “It was almost impossible to find out what happened to the cash. According to an initial government audit only 13 percent of the aid was spent during the first year of reconstruction, but since then there has been no formal examination of accounts.”

Devastation at Muslim town Maruthamunai

He added that, “there has been no proper accounts maintained on the aid money and we believe that only a fraction of the aid trickled down to the real victims”.  

For example Saudi Arabia built 500 houses to Muslim families affected by Tsunami. Houses were ready for occupation. Sinhala extremists, led by Buddhist monks, opposed giving the houses only to Muslims. Thus the houses were not given .Today they are covered with thick jungle where snakes, reptiles and other wild animals live.

While tsunami victims were languishing in appalling conditions in inhospitable temporary shelters, there began to emerge report after report of corruption highlighting to what extent human beings could descend to in exploiting even human misery and sufferings for their own benefit. 

According to a report by the then Auditor-General, S.C. Mayadunne, “government officials misspent or misappropriated hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of tsunami aid after failing to follow instructions. Officials gave millions of rupees in tsunami assistance to thousands of families who were not directly affected while others displaced by the tsunami did not even get the rations they were entitled to”.

Some other reports pointed out that Sri Lanka received 3.2 billion dollars in foreign aid pledges. In the absence of proper account-keeping, many believe that only a fraction of the aid actually went to the real victims and it was impossible to track down what happened to the cash.  

Under the headline “Merry times for tsunami racketeers” this is what a report by Shamindra Ferdinando said in the “Island” of 26 December 2006, “Even years after the tsunami, the government is yet to punish State officials accountable for waste, corruption and negligence in the aftermath of the unprecedented natural disaster.

“Inquiries reveal that the government has failed to initiate action against them despite clear evidence of wasteful expenditure on a large scale. Politicians have connived with officials to help their supporters play out funds and in some cases, further the interests of their associates. They have profited from crooked deals involving crooked means, hiring of vehicles and compensation for damaged and destroyed houses

Summing up the situation, a compassionate Buddhist had this to state in his column in a local daily: 

“It is true that we did rise to the occasion, but sadly it is also true that we folded up even faster than it took us to stand tall. This is why at 9.30 a.m. on December 26, if we mourn anything, we should mourn the tragic fact that we could not respond adequately as citizens, as fellow human beings. Perhaps we should all go to the beach, if not to show gratitude, to lament. Let us, when we do this, or whatever else we find ourselves doing at that most inauspicious time, reflect on the fact that in this Buddhist country there is a thing called karma pala, that while some things are bad, among the worst is the intent to prey on misery, and that such transgressions have a way of constructing appropriate punishments. 

“I suggest, humbly, that we recognize in our blood streams, in our heartbeats the sad truth that we have failed and hope that this recognition generates in all of us the first seeds of resolve that allows us to do better. Let us resolve to rectify our errors and truly emerge as a people worthy of a nation, simply by developing the faculty of sympathy and gathering the strength to move forward, not alone but with each and every one left behind by the tsunami waves.”

The ferocious and frenzied Tsunami waves snatched away hundreds of thousands of lives, dismembered thousands of families, wiped out communities, razed buildings, swallowed villages and cities and left behind an unprecedented trail of destruction, never heard of in the country’s history. 

Muslims were the worst affected and number of villages in the east were flattened. During the first few post-tsunami days, there was an unparalleled outpouring of support and sympathy for the victims. Spontaneous goodwill poured forth overwhelmingly when people from all communities and from all walks of life rushed to help the victims. 

In Colombo, many left everything and rushed with whatever food, water and clothes they could gather to help the victims everywhere. It was highly commendable that in doing so they rose above race, religion, ethnicity and other considerations. 

Individuals who emptied their pockets and the civil organizations that rushed to the scene of disaster with whatever possible aid also restored the – fading faith in humanity. 

They demonstrated that compassion and human kindness still remain alive among the average people though politicians play politics and divide the communities. Though the tsunami brought together the warring and divided communities, yet it was a short-lived dream as conflict broke out within a year. According to early estimates, the total value of the damage stood at US$1.5 billion. According to reports billions of dollars poured into the country in the form of aid to the unfortunate tsunami victims.  

During tsunami disaster then President Kumaratunga, who was in London, rushed home and assured that their houses would be rebuilt within six months. But these promises disappeared in the same way of the tsunami waves, despite billions of rupees given to help tsunami victims.    

In the aftermath of the tsunami, President Chandrika Kumaratunga’s government initiated a move to sign a joint mechanism with the LTTE. But the Muslim tsunami victims were not only kept in the dark but were also ignored by the agreement to please the LTTE which opposed Muslim participation. 

In her desire to seal an agreement at any cost President Kumaratunga ignored the Muslims. The so-called peace broker, Norway was active partner in this conspiracy against the Muslim tsunami victims.   

”Columnist Sassanka Samarakkody said, “The main priority of our opportunistic political leaders is certainly not the wellbeing of the people or the territorial integrity of the country, but to cling on to power or grab power at any cost.  Ends

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Latest comments

  • 9
    0

    Lord Rama is missing in the Ramayana.

    • 3
      0

      There were many here who were very critical of news channels Derana and Hiru (?) …… when they were distorting the truth to support the Rajapakses.

      Now they are supporting Ranil …….what do you guys say about this cover-up/snow-job? ………. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gkM2kyHpF-M

      Ah! Principles!

      If you don’t know about principles …… learn about principles from Nathan: the devout Hindu who always defends God ………. and his lack of principles, eh? :))

      If he can’t cough-up some principles ……… I might show-off some principles.

      Is it any wonder the country is in such a mess?

    • 4
      1

      Like today but in 2004 – Tsunami killed our people in coastal areas of the island. This term was not even known to the island nation before. The deadly wave claimed the lives of many people living in the coastal areas of the country.
      Thanks to former president CBK and late Mr. Kadiragamer, many people in the west world donated to rebuild our country. Thanks to them, we were able to rebuild the livelihood of the affected families.Former CJ, another one of the highly abusive judges, made it clear, Rajapkshes stole even tsunami funds. And they should have been landed in jail cell.

      So much money was squandered by the same family, and today this nation is branded as looters.
      All dignity and respect was robbed by Rajapaksa. Not only that, he was accused of having embezzeled the money, we transfered from from Texas and Europe to bank accounts in Sri Lanka.
      .
      The curse still reechoes in this land. Justice is not served as usual. Rajapaksa has no respect for law and order. Also, the Sri Lankan courts have not acted strictly on the major crimes committed by the Rajapaksa. In retrospect, the Rajapaksas have damaged more than any other leader so far. That is the saddest reality and, disturbingly enough, today’s taxpayers are still finanzing their safety. We are doomed.

  • 5
    0

    Nothing new; stealing is part of the local political culture, and the culture of impunity is at the core of it.
    The present political set up needs a radical change with an influx of much younger and bright people which the country has and a large number unfortunately ends up abroad.
    What is needed is a new constitution with term and age limits and a new younger bright set of politicians as parliamentarians. This will help to irradicate the culture of impunity, hopefully.

    • 1
      0

      “The ferocious and frenzied Tsunami waves snatched away hundreds of thousands of lives”
      Actually, they didn’t. According to official figures, 30,000 plus people died.
      Writers should check their figures.

      • 1
        0

        OC
        A few zeros going one way or another do not matter in our culture.
        Precision is an aberration I guess.

        • 2
          0

          The man likes sensation. He cannot think of the losses sufferrd by all communities.
          He cannot see the ethical and emotions issues arising from aid given by a foreign country delivered to just one community.
          Does he think that we are living a world of pan Islamic and other identity based political systems.
          I do not know which gallery he is playing to, but he is not doing any favour to the Muslims.
          *
          Also “Billions Of Dollars Of Tsunami Aid Disappeared’ is another piece of fiction.
          Most of the aid was project-based and donor counties had a say in their management.
          Others including relief were through government and NGOs.
          I think that his school maths teacher has a lot of blame to share in this business..
          *
          CT would do well to fact check such tales before printing.

  • 17
    0

    Why the writer forgot the statement made by the then “CHIEF JUSTICE” – Sarath N Silva who delivered the judgment of the famous “Tsunami Case”? To awaken your memory, this is what he said, not long ago but a few years back: ” If I correctly gave the judgment, Mahinda Rajapakse would have been in jail and will not be the President”.( Note: These may not be the correct words, but in essence, that was what he said)

    So who “PREVENTED” the justice being executed? The “Chief Justice”. Who got away with the “LOOT”? The then-PM and now an MP – Mahinda Rajapakse. Have these “LOOTERS” stopped? No. They continue with much vigor and “Caution”. Who has given them such opportunities? The PEOPLE. Who has afforded that facility to “Escape” liability and accountability? The Law Enforcement including the Judicial System. Is there anything wrong with the “System” as some claim and clamor to change? NO. The “System” is in place, but those in charge of executing that “System” are “Corrupt” and they are “Cohorts”.

    • 4
      0

      Simon,
      No need for system change at all!!?? System is comprehensive for all eventualities and situations that presents under different circumstances in Governance!!
      The greatest and only DEFICIENCY IS THE PEOPLE OFFICIATING THE VARIOUS POSITIONS!!!??
      New Parliament and new Law makers are not going to help change that, but disciplined trained personnel, who are committed and could be expected to discharge their duties, according to the spirit of the constitution to ensure excellent Jurisprudence!!!
      For that to happen, first and foremost, amongst other things,
      1. appointment to critical key positions
      a. selection,
      b. start-up date
      c. termination date
      d. disciplinary action (if need be)
      e. importantly remuneration one mirrors the other
      SHOULD BE “INDEPENDENT BODY” AND NOT BY THE EXECUTIVE OR THE LEGISLATURE!!??
      Grade 7 educated, nit wits, the main cause for this lacuna, with equally incompetent Executive Administration!! ONE MIRRORS THE OTHER!!!?
      CORRUPTION, THIEVING, INSOLENCE, DENIAL OF ERRORS, AGGRANDISEMENT IS RAMPANT AND BEING EXECUTED WITH IMPUNITY ON A GRAND SCALE THAN EVER BEFORE
      SIVEREIGN PEOPLE OF SRI LANKA, WHOSE RIGHT HAS BEEN ASIGNED TO THESE ILL-EDUCATED, WHIMSICAL BEINGS, FLOUTING RIGHT DOWN TO THE ELEMENT AND THE CITIZENRY ARE MADE DESTITUTE BY DEPRIVATION DUE TO THIS LOOTING AND SATRVED!!

    • 3
      0

      Simon
      If the CJ, Sarath Silva, admitted that he knowingly gave a wrong verdict, is he so stupid & doesn’t realise that he has shot his own foot? Doesn’t this stupid yob realise that he has defecated on the noble profession of judiciary & all that it stands for as justice? If true, can’t this case be reopened or if it is ‘double jeopardy’, can’t Silva be punished for his biased judgement? I can’t imagine how such a stupid man ever passed law exams, let alone rise up to CJ level. These yobs have no shame, even boasting in public, therefore, it should be the civil society as a whole that should shun the bum suckers & criminals who would rob even the charity box, like lepers. If karma is true, I hope these punks will be lepers in their next life.

      • 3
        0

        Raj-UK,
        The resplendent Isle, “Tear drop Pearl of the Indian Ocean” is no more Sovereign state or Republic!!!???
        IT’S PART OF GREATER MEDAMULANE SINCE OCTOBER 2005!!!
        That’s the reality and one needs to contend!!
        MaRa knows what everybody is competent and fallible too!!!??
        Uncrowned King of the newly emerged “Kingdom of Medamulana”!?
        All respect and salutations ar his and only his, none else!!
        NEW DIKTAT!!??
        All are subservient to King and saviour – Messiah
        Charity box too is owned by him, without doubt!!??

      • 2
        0

        Raj-UK: Please get “familiarized” with Sri Lanka “Standards” . If not, I am not surprised by the heart burns you undergo in listening to these “Factual” situations in the country.

        When “Yahapalanaya” was there, we had a “Chief Justice” who met the then President and “PROMISED” to deliver judgments as per the “WISHES” of the President and in return “Retain” him in that seat of “CJ”. In spite of that “Undertaking”, he was unseated.

        Do you know where he is today? “HE” is our “Permanent Representative” in the UNO. Don’t you think even “UNO” has such “Systems” to “Overlook” matters? So why question our “SYSTEMS” that are such “UNIQUE”?

      • 0
        1

        Dear Raj-UK,
        .
        Sarath Silva is not stupid;
        about twenty-five years ago my daughter and I discussed this man with an honest and brilliant lawyer who is now no more.
        .
        My cousin was of the view that Sarath Silva was intelligent, knew the law well, and usually gave sound judgements, but he was a crook.
        .
        Then my daughter, an incredibly innocent character, asked why he had so many women around him. “Because he wants to sleep with them”, came the answer.
        .
        Sarath Silva has been a great success – so far!
        .
        Up to now at least, his life has proved that he knows what he can get away with all that he’s done.
        .
        The other disgraceful Chief Justice was this guy:
        .
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mohan_Peiris
        .
        You’ve given me disturbing news, Simon, about him being now at the UNO. How can a VishramikaGambadaIngirisiIskolaMahaththaya like me keep track of so many things?
        .
        Let’s do what we can, wherever we are.

        • 0
          0

          SM,
          “How can a VishramikaGambadaIngirisiIskolaMahaththaya like me keep track of so many things?”
          True enough. But doesn’t the fact that you weren’t aware of Mohan Peiris’s current employment cast just a shadow of doubt over your expertise on other matters?

          • 0
            0

            OC,
            .
            Is this not same CT commenter, who questioned lately about most abusive business man of all times.. ” I dont know who he is”.. I mean. about. DELITH JAYAWEERA aka Delete Jayaweera ?
            :
            So is that not contradictory to his own assumption about his “keep track of so many things”…?
            .. this is akin to what that joker Dayan Jayathilaka pompously narrates…. / or that of ” Kaliamma- controlled DHAMMIKA pani maker”. There are whole lot of examples – needless to share

        • 0
          0

          “How can a VishramikaGambadaIngirisiIskolaMahaththaya like me keep track of so many things?”

          is it not the high time, to go for you to go to the intelligent test first before searching the intelligence standards of others ? ??????
          :
          If you are an intelligent person, how dare you to call that former CJ to be intelligent ?

      • 1
        0

        “…would rob even the charity box, like lepers”
        Disgraceful uncouth insult that criminalizes victims of a disease.

    • 0
      1

      Simon,
      .
      I’ve given a link to the one minute video containing Sarath Silva’s words here:
      .
      https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/systemic-drain/
      .
      I’m sorry, but that entire comment has turned in to bold. I intend placing more at the bottom of that page.
      .
      At least a few of us must summon up the courage to speak out. I have lived long enough, and must soon depart. So, I can afford to take risks. Although I have no idea who Sion really is, I can see that he’s more effective than me – we are not in competition !
      .
      Panini Edirisinhe of Bandarawela (NIC 483111444V)

  • 13
    0

    When there are utterly stupid iditos are there to worship the thieves and crooks and murderers what can one do. That pervert Sarath Silva was responsible for some of the crimes. But still he is going arond a great man.

    • 4
      1

      Blanken,
      .
      Blame is not to be placed on the extremely stupid people, but on the lawyers and judges who have produced thanks to free education.People at large in this island would queue up to eat GRASS if anyone would ask them do so. That we noticed how they crowded to collected KALIAMMA- COVID- DHAMMIKA paniya. Even MBBS holders and other graduates were seen in those serpentine queues.
      if a lawyer behaved the way that they are upto, in europe, they would be beheaded on the spot. People are also more knowledgeable about their rights and the responsibilities of the lawyers in civilized world.
      :
      I am afraid until the struggle, I could not see how the legal community and the judges came forward to do that work because they were licensed and sworn to practice that noble profession.
      .
      Unfortunately. Many of our lawyers and judges are second to none.
      .
      Lawlessness has prevailed in this country for the past few years more than ever before.

      • 0
        1

        Dear leelagemalli,
        .
        You say that “Even MBBS holders and other graduates ……..” in a context that suggests that guys who have been in Universities are all intelligent /well-informed.
        .
        So far, nobody has asked us to eat grass, but Ranil just may!
        .
        Let me see how intelligently you answer the questions that I’m going to place at the bottom of this article:
        .
        https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/systemic-drain/
        .
        There’s only one positive thing that I can say about you; you’re not a racist – but that’s saying a lot.
        .
        Ah, no! you are also sincere and generous.
        .
        Panini Edirisinhe of Bandarawela

  • 4
    1

    “Billions Of Dollars Of Tsunami Aid Disappeared”

    Still 6.9 million voted!

    Mr Farook, …… are you mad or are they mad?

    That’s the 64 million dollar question.

  • 6
    0

    MR was the Ali Baba of Tsunami thieves. The thievery and looting trickled down from him.

    • 4
      1

      Sarath P,
      .
      Even though the people knew the seriousness of the brutal crimes committed by Mara, the majority of this country ignored the Rajapaksa’s continuous abuse like drug addicts taking drugs without breaks.
      Level has now been reached, level of the effect that poisonous snakes got bred, due to the complete ignorance and stupidity of garden owners. Good riddance to bad rubbish I would say ……
      .
      tbc

      • 4
        1

        cont.
        .
        Mahinda Rajapaksa studied well enough how stupid our people are like any highly corrupt leader on this earth.
        Dressing up with satakaya, kerchiefing, kissing the cheeks of poor boys and girls, giving laptops to media whores, and last but not least, “licking the BO-TREE” and similar rituals spent sending the Sinhala Buddhist message across the nation. … a very race, their levels of stupidity are inestimable.

        See how many middle class people have lost their funds by going after the “Valampuri Man” by spreading the myth that artificially produced Valampuri can bring good luck to all……… ?
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ENTlijCOpU4
        All other people that are sick with Kaliamma and other invisible forces have fallen to a very low level but those cheaters have made millions if not billions by cheating their customers., BECAUSE THEY BELIEVED THE NATION#S FIRST CITIZEN TOO….. PLEASE COMPARE THE RICH LEVELS OF GALTHANNA THE WITCH….
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cvcTtD2Nl0k.
        Gota became unvalid coin, falling at the bottom of all ranks today, unable to face anyone. Because of their affinity for myth…..Illusions can deceive anyone when people’s minds are built away from facts and self-belief. .

        • 0
          0

          What are Valampuri, Kaliamma, and Galthanna?
          .
          Do you seriously expect us to watch videos on these things?

          • 0
            0

            Sinhala Man,
            .
            Don’t bother if you don’t want to, but let others read. You will be more than happy to indulge in your chivalry and gossip as you have hitherto done.

            Thank you.

    • 1
      0

      Have I not said earlier that Ali Baba was decent guy and he was not on the same side of the 40.
      We draw analogies without even knowing what are compared.

    • 0
      0

      Ali Baba killed the thieves who wanted to kill him. He had nothing to do with the thieves otherwise.
      How does MR fit here?

  • 6
    1

    There is no doubt that Sri Lanka is run by corrupted politicians through Judiciary used all opportunities to maximise their benefits. This also include Muslim Politicians. Unfortunately, there is no mechanism to get rid of this culture because they are very powerful and people are not ready to come out of this culture.

    • 0
      0

      The Buddha said to a grieving mother who pleaded with him to bring her dead child back to life: “Bring me a handful of sesame from a hose where no death has occurred.”
      I do not want spoil your fun abusing this country at every turn.
      But you may make a sensible argument on occasion if you will only try hard.

  • 5
    0

    The problem that evolved in 2004 ‘BOXING DAY’ Tsunami was unique!!
    A. Hambantota in the SE tip of island outermost and closest point to the Tsunami waves!!
    B. Hambantota, and specifically Medamulana, Weeraketiya though directly, unaffected by Tsunami in SE Sri Lanka was the birth place of Mahendra Percival Rajapakse – popularly known as Mahinda Rajapakse (MaRa)!!
    C. The election cycle had 2005 as the year of the SL Executive Presidential election??
    D. The governing party (SLFP/PA) has also nominated MaRa as the PM designate the same year as the Tsunami and also as the Presidential candidate/nominee for election in 11/2005!!??
    E. The SL diaspora in America, where the 2 siblings of MaRa were resident has collected and indicated willingness – transfer the equivalent of 90 Million as Tsunami reparation assistance?
    F. Thus the funds so rendered came thru’ by questionable means to the Bank account of a relative of MaRa converted by MaRa for “Helping Hambantota Fund”, then returned after a few days!!!
    Although, the money was returned the initial act of defrauding the funds should have been duly recognised and the relevant party punished!!
    So pillaging continued 20065/06 onwards, starting with 20% on CFPP – Norrichholai, CFPP phase 2 and 3!!

    • 0
      0

      M
      Will you not agree that after a 20% cut delivering a job on time is a miracle.
      *
      Many of us like to believe to hear only bad things about some and only good things about some others.
      These tales have been afloat for very long now.
      Can you tell where the money went, with some evidence– other than “I heard from a reliable source” stuff.

  • 2
    0

    We are unable to track the big guys who open the cabinet in Central Bank and fled with millions and how you are going to track the tsunami funds.

  • 3
    0

    The tsunami aid was stolen. There has been change in the system of punishing crooks. The same will happen to the IMF loan.

    No one is protesting to the IMF against their facilitating the theft of our money.

    • 0
      0

      JM
      Can you please educate me on how IMF loan funding can be defrauded the same way relief donations had been?

  • 7
    0

    The sinhala, predominantly unique buddhist culture sinhalas and their politicians LOOT from minorities which is still ONGOING and their sinhala politicians LOOT from them sinhala peoples. Recent news reports say that sinhala politicians are requesting grants from the GOSL and Ranil Rajapakse is amenable for compensation for their houses paid for by moneys initially LOOTED from the peoples, and damaged by the peoples whose money was LOOTED!!!

  • 8
    0

    As usual, only selectively cry about the plight of the Muslims only. Please give it a rest. The tsunami affected not only the Muslims in the east but also the Tamils in the east, northeast and east, the Tamils were more far more affected than the Muslims and the Sinhalese down south. All foreign aid from overseas and even from the Tamil diaspora was distributed to all the affected people and not just to one community, then why were the local Muslim organizations and Saudi Arabia only providing aid only to the affected Muslims in the east and not to the equally affected Tamils in the east or the Sinhalese down south? Typical. As usual like a typical Southern Muslim, still trying to bring a rift and chasm between the South Indian origin eastern Tamil Muslims and the indigenous eastern Tamils, especially now, with reconciliation talks are going on, in my opinion, to deliberately sabotage, and muddy the waters, so that the Tamils will not anything, whilst wanting good relations with the Sinhalese and the southern Muslims.

    • 0
      0

      Dear Mr Latheef,
      .
      I don’t know how “typical” you are, but the criticism levelled at you by
      Rohan25 is justified.
      .
      This “selectivity” is to be seen in most of what you write.
      .
      I’m sorry to be saying this.

  • 3
    0

    The thefts of Tsunami aid were blatant. News reports say that USD millions were transferred ino Mahinda and the othe TAKSHAPAKSES’ bank accounts. No wonder they live in luxury in the USA while them sinhalas are STARVING!!!

  • 0
    0

    Mr.Latheef.

    Its all about Helping Hambantota……………..
    God helps those who help themselves eh?

  • 0
    0

    [Some other reports pointed out that Sri Lanka received 3.2 billion dollars in foreign aid pledges]

    pledges are not money received.Shane warne also pledged a lot but gave nothing.We have to first know how much of money we received for the tsunami.As for the 500 houses bult by saidi arabia that oil rich kingdom couldhave easily built all the houses lost in the tsunami in the eastern province.Raj rajaratnam donated to john keels to build houses and said to give equally to all ehnicities.I know of a sinhala man in galle who was praising him because he had a house.The saudis may have given much more money to some of the muslim organisations which would have just done a white wash of building 500 houses and pockted the rest.Not only should we know how much we received(not pledged) for the tsunami but who actually received the money into their bank accounts.

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