By Sarath Wijesinghe –
Justice is not only be done it must seem to be done
Citizen is expected to be given their cherished Nation to the hands of honest leaders of integrity on trust for a limited period to administer the Nation on trust as “Temporary Trustees”. Some trustees are elected, some appointed. President Prime Minister and Speaker are elected and the Chief Justice, Auditor General Attorney General and the Governor Central Bank are appointed. Appointments should be made with utmost care and trust to select the best candidate of integrity and honesty. Their conduct should be whiter than white. There should not be direct or indirect benefits to him or the family members which included son-in laws. This sacred position is bound by written and unwritten guidelines under the principles of good governance. Actions must be transparent and appointments made are to be impartial as in the case of Mc Carthy-1924- Judge declared that” not only justice be done, It must seem to be done” in the case where the court staff member was convicted on a traffic offence which appealed against the judgement. This principle and adage applies to all corners of good governance including administration and appointments to high positions. This is of universal application to be followed in any democracy. Honesty, uprightness, honesty, morality, truthfulness, sincerity and integrity is demanded on the appointment of the HIGH POSTS deciding the future of economy monitory control fiscal policy and strategies on development and future prosperity in a Nation. Do we maintain these principles in our cherished Nation or is it followed on appointment of the CB Governor and is the citizen and the civil society happy and contended with his performances as impartial and honest, Is a moot issue to be argued?
Controversy over the appointment of the Governor Central Bank
Governor Central Bank is the head of the Central Bank and the Monitory Board in change of the entire banking system in Sri Lanka as the regulator and the office that initiates controls administers and strategize the economy and fiscal policy of the country with the massive structure and Central Bank set up. He decides the monitory policy and advises the Sate on all monitory matters. Maintenance of economic and financial and economic stability, and Employees Provident Fund also come under the Central Bank Governor. He possesses enormous powers and the decisions have direct impact on the economy and the future fiscal policies as deciding factors of the economic prosperity or downfall. He in person as well as the position he holds has become controversial with the bond scam involving his son –in- law “Arjun Aloysius” accused of previous deals on EPF, alleged to have earned billions within few days allegedly manipulating the bidding process by him and his father –in –law “Arjuna Mahandran” a 55 year old Oxford Educated able Singaporean Banker currently questioned by the Committee of Public Enterprises and facing a law suit in the court of appeals. A three member committee of young lawyers appointed by the Prime Minister has determined in the course that it merits and warrants an inquiry due to the conduct of the Governor in the bidding process. Leave to proceed was not granted at the Fundamental Rights application on the grounds that no rules have being violated in the process, though the petitioners have submitted on the colossal loss of billions of rupees caused and resulted during the thirty year bond period. Does it mean that Bribery and corruption is permitted if rules are not broken is another moot issue?
A case of Quo Warrantor is pending at the court of appeals on the bond scam filed by disgruntled “Yahapalana” NGOs and academics. Fundamental case is thrown out due to technicality as in the case of “Raj Rajaratnam” sending millions to a close friend of Arjun and Raj now a Minister in “Yahapalanaya” Government when the case against him was dismissed on a mere technicality the judge had power to order correction or appeal. It was the last case heard of the retiring lady High Court Judge who was appointed as a Judge Again on contract basis unusually after her retirement, despite vociferous protests by the Ba s they are immersed with financial crisis. West and the world powers are depending on the stable and powerful Chinese economy to ease their difficulties. Two billion USD is borrowed short term by us have evaporated for day to day expenses. Two billion of the previous loans are haunting us with red lights. IMF will demand more and more disciplined tax and income regime with adjustments on fuel, electricity and social benefits including “Samudri” and election pledges on increase of salaries and promises at the elections. People do not feel or informed of any Developments or investments despite large sums pledged by foreign countries in media. Prizes of all consumer and connected items are raising fast with the vat and tax increases. Judiciary and the law and order is in the decline with the rise of the crime rate illegal drug and destruction trends including the damage to the environment, when the Minister of environment is responsible for the unruly behaviours of politicians and cronies. “Arjun and Arjuna Saga” have reached the centre stage until 30th of July 2916.r Association in protest of the appointment.” Arjun Aloysius” has been a registered dealer at the Central bank assisted by Bank of Ceylon in the bidding process on proxy which raises the eyebrows of those in the Banking sector and overlooking NSB and BOC on the bond deals are controversial as all the banks come under Arjun. Both Arjuns are well connected in business and in the high society with highest political connections and the business community in India Singapore and worldwide. Initial proposals for bidding have been only for one billion at 12.50%, which is suddenly enhanced to 10 billion for thirty long years allegedly on the insistence of the Governor causing an immediate loss of 1.5 billion continuing for a period of thirty years with losses to Sri Lanka dead silence at the COPE inquires before media and the other statutory bodies raise eye brows of the civil society and the citizen. These episodes will damage the already damaged image created for Mr Clean who is backing shady people on the dock of the institutions masses and mass media. The playboy life style with most expensive suits spending millions on sundry expenses on frequent travelling with the open unlimited credit card in hand, talks of deleting data haves aggravated the situation. All the transactions are shady and cloudy and the conduct of the Governor on the day and the period of the Scam are unusual according to number of articles on the net. We obtain all these information from the public domain and it will help the person holding the highest position on finance an explanation refuting all the allegations. The deed silence and silence at inquires will damage him and the honourable position of the Central Bank governor.
Prestigious and an Honourable Position suited to be held by Honourable Men
This prestigious and honourable position was initiated by the first Governor “John Exter” the main architect of the Central Bank and the Monitory Board extremely honourable and able personality when the current Governor in question is the twelfth to lead the Central Bank and the Monetary Board. The dilemma of the citizen and the civil society is whether it is safe to appoint him for a further period of six years, unless and until he is cleared on the allegations levelled against him from various corners. The short period of appointment is full of controversy and scams headed by the bond scam which has now led to loss of confidence of the CB struggling to sell 11 billion treasury bills of which only 1.8 billion is sole to date. The most polarized and politicised appointments made of the Governor are the predecessor of the current Governor who was involved in politics appointed by the previous President as his favourite and the current Governor who is an active politician of the UNP in the inner circle and favourite of Prime Minister who is one of the main funders of the United National Party inner circle which he proudly admits. There is gossip at “Hulftsdorp” of an appointment of the Sri Lankan High Commissioner in the United Kingdom from the Banking Sector.
“What is our plight and where are we”
Our plight is uncertain due to the controversy of the appointment of an able educated Singaporean banker as the head of the treasury of the Nation expected to sign allegiance to Sri Lanka in the management of our monetary system and fiscal management. He is the nominee of the Prime Minister who according to reports is indispensable and the best man for the job. President, Civil Society and many have indicated the fear of his appointment due to the controversial track record and the past of “both Arjuns” in glass boxes now in the limelight. If the Prime Minister is determined to appoint him despite large and forceful protests, there could be very valid grounds for the decision which reminds of decisions taken and not taken by the previous President on certain individuals and groups cuddling and protecting then, who now conveniently changed colours even indicating readiness to become state witnesses. If the message is transmitted of the weakness of the regime it will be a matter of seconds to change colours of unprincipled politicians on both sides of that in power and around both in the government and the opposition including their cronies. We are indebted to all over with loans and commitments. West will advise us on the promotion on human rights and reconciliation but unable to assist in kind which is the bitter reality.
Any issue has the potential to settle when the origin is identified and act with honesty and pure intentions of resolution of the issue for the betterment of others. Taking an inch forward or back is possible if the intentions of all are the best interest of the country and will be a way out for the country to be out of imminent danger of us becoming Greek Islands. If the opposition is not cooperating they in one day will be left with more difficult problems as power is not permanent and human is bound to make mistakes with time and excessive power and perks connected. We always hear of conciliation, but not among the political parties and the individuals in power. Is the issue really “Arjun/ Arjun” alone or any other reason/s connected; for the Prime Minister to protect and defend and depend on him on him to this extent. It could be he is in dire state on the state of economy due to mismanagement during the short span of time and the excessive expenditure by the previous government. Hon J R Jayewardene and Sri Lanka paid the highest prize of direct and indirect invasion by Rajive, by ill treating Madam Bandaraneike and mismanagement of the foreign policy by overlooking the regional power towards USA then is a different political game. Now things have changed. Definitely China is unhappy over the conduct and remarks on the bonds with previous regime and the country, and it is the duty of the previous President to shed differences on this matter in the interest of the Nation if there is a request from the current regime. USA wishes to be the world policemen still but conceded that it is no longer the world economic power. Now everything is based on economy which has become the centre stage including the Foreign Service and diplomacy with prominence to economic diplomacy. Absolute power corrupts and it may be true that corruption has taken place during the last regime, does not mean it has lessened any longer today which the citizen can observe and not those in power until the power is shed in future which is a certainty. Now enough is enough crying foul for the misdeeds of the past which takes time to put an end with the current legal and administrative structure. If we continue to do so we have no time and space for developments or strategies for the future generation. Those in the government throwing stoned may look back at themselves and colleagues of their previous and current conduct with horrendous happening of rampant Barbary corruption nepotism and waste at all corners. It is time for us to decide to sink and perish together or come out of the rot as a group, Sri Lanka has decided to borrow money under monetary law and affiliations of Arjun to “Credit Swiss Corporation” AG – Global Institution will definitely be of conflict of interest. In this situation is it safe for him to be our Treasurer for a father period of 6 years is the fear of the ordinary citizen. On the appointment of CBG there is a viable sensible and ideal solution. Appoint the next in line who is reputed to be honourable experienced and create a precedent to appoint governors from the service as in the judiciary to appoint from the service.
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