Nirmal Ranjith Dewasiri, Head, Department of History, University of Colombo who is also the former president of the Federation of University Teachers’ Associations (FUTA) has strongly objected to the way Colombo Telegraph has been condemned by certain persons on its revelations of dubious financial transactions of the Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA).
Asked to offer his comment on the behavior of regular anti-government as well as pro-government commentators with regard to the CPA/NGO saga of fraud and deceit, Dr Dewasiri said ‘I cannot see any difference between the way in which the “NGO tribe” behaves vis-à-vis the Colombo Telegraph allegations and Regime’s behavior when they are blamed for similar conduct’.
The Colombo Telegraph charged the CPA and its all powerful Executive Director Dr Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu of deliberately misleading donors, sanctioning or condoning dubious financial behavior and covering up fraud.
The following is Dr Devasiri’s full response:
Colombo Telegraph’s (CT) revelations about certain dubious financial transactions of Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA) have certainly not been welcomed by those who are critical about the government. Apparently, they are not happy with this attack on several grounds. At least two stand out. In the first place, they think these allegations may demoralize anti-regime campaign, which is the worst evil. Secondly, they seem to be thinking that compared the massive frauds and financial misconducts of the regime, allegations against CPA are insignificant.
I thing both these objections are highly unacceptable.
It is not a secret that the financial misconduct is part and parcel in the NGO sector. Some seems to me reckoning that NGOs are not accountable to the local public as they are funded by international funders. I heard that the Friday Forum has made such a claim in one of their recent statement. If we take this argument further, the entire logical and moral ground on which one questions Regime’s behavior becomes baseless.
Unfortunately I cannot see any difference between the way in which the “NGO tribe” behaves vis-à-vis the CT allegations and Regime’s behavior when they are blamed for similar conducts.
At the same time, there is also an overt arrogance among the NGO tribe in handling these allegations. They seems to be thinking that they are the savior of democracy, good governance, and everything that are good and virtuous, and therefore they cannot be wrong and cannot be, therefore, questioned. No need to mention that this is an unacceptable behavior.