14 December, 2017

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Nirmal Condemns Hypocrisy Of “NGO Tribe”

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).

Dr. Nirmal Ranjith Dewasiri

Dr. Nirmal Ranjith Dewasiri

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.

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Latest comments

  • 1
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    NGO Tribe………..
    Is similar to the prover “the Pot calling the Kettle Black”………..
    They blow hot and cold with the same breath.

  • 6
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    Thank you Nirmal for fearlessly writing about NGO hypocrisy. You may get unpopular for expressing your opinion but enough is enough and need to expose all these national NGOs and local NGOs engaging in their corrupt practices. In fact many or 99% of all these NGOs are there as a means of livelihood for themselves. If anybody would conduct an evaluation of the impact of actives in terms of the money received one would be shocked.

    • 1
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      Of course, I agree with baby. thank you Nirmal.

  • 2
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    Dr. Dewasiri:

    As one who has admired your conduct as head of FUTA, in particular, I have, however, to take issue with your statement that, “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 (sic),” for the reason that there IS a SIGNIFICANT difference in the matter of proportion.

    I have spent the better part of my working life in the non-profit sector working on community development initiatives so I do bring some background to this discussion.

    When and where I worked in the field, I do not recall ONE instance of the misuse of funds in the manner alleged.

    That said, the scale of embezzlement of Sri Lankans’ funds by those with their hands in the national till completely beggars what is alleged to have happened in the Centre for Policy Alternatives.

    Might I suggest a sense of proportion be brought to this discussion? When you don’t hang people for even slapping diplomats, you shouldn’t be ready to lock up and throw the key away in the case of those accused of indulging in “pin adi!”

    • 6
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      The matter of proportion?

      Governments control Trillions and they rob billions.

      NGOs (CPA) controls millions and there are robing millions.

      Yes, Mr EV de P -there IS a SIGNIFICANT difference in the matter of proportion. Because NOGs are robing more.

      • 5
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        If the corruption is calculated in percentage terms the NGOs are worse. Its the reverse of the widow’s mite.

    • 3
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      Mr Poorten is also an NGO .. There you go..

      So the Durian Farm is just for the Dalits to make some Dosh.. How cool is that !!!

      But didn’t he once complain when other Dalits in his area try to pinch a few fruits to make their spouses happy.

      Although his Durain is not for profit business, Mr Poorten is particular about who gets access to his juicy fruits.

      May be Sinhala Buddhists are some how barred from enjoying the fruits of his Durian Harvest….

    • 0
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      At tines NGOs become essential evils

    • 0
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      Auditors should be asked to comment (unofficially of course) the extent to which NGOs ‘cross charge’ a practice which auditors don’t always query because they are not totally familiar with the actual activities the NGOs are purportedly engaged in. Dr Devasiri is quite justified in his comments.

    • 0
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      There need not be a comparison of NGO fraud with that with any other entity. The CPA is duty bound to explain the alleged fraud to their donors, just as much the govt. is accountable to the public. CPA as a “watch dog” of good governance is obliged to keep their dealings honest, but they appear to have failed to do so. If I were a donor to CPA, I would suspend my contributions until the matter is investigated and resolved.

    • 2
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      Mr van der Poorten

      Sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander, CT we believe is right isn exposing Dr Sara’s NGO as much as bringing the Chris Nonis affair into public eye.

      You are trying to discount Dr Devasiri’s forthright views by bringing in an argument called “sense of proportion” and then display your bias by saying that we do not “hang” people for slapping a diplomat.

      Proportion indeed ….

  • 3
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    “Ravana Bhalaya” monks are lovely. All power to them.

  • 7
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    Some of these NGOs charge exorbitant “overheads”. The NGO “Save the Children” I think charge 80c for every $1 they collect.

    Many of these organisations claimed they were doing various projects inside the LTTE controlled area. Although when the army rolled in, the only food and shelter the Tamils got was the ones provided by the govt.

    They fleece donors and there is no one to regulate how the money is used. There is no accountability, audits or transparency with anything.

    This CPA guy Pakayasothi I think is his name is almost certainly on a junket to Europe. The conference he is attending is titled something along the lines of “protecting Tamil journalists”.

    There are bigger and more urgent causes if one needs to invest money like this. The guy is a fraud and needs to be investigated.

    • 4
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      These are also designated charities, and pay no tax. You are absolutely correct to point out that 80% or more of the funds collected is consumed as ‘administration’ even by well known charities. They do make far more cacophony than what they actually achieve

    • 1
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      How about first investigating the Rajapaksa brothers and their families about the enormous wealth they have accumulated that are undoubtedly the money from the poor people of Sri Lanka? Where did the Rajapaksa brats get the money to buy million dollar racing cars?

  • 3
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    Dr Paikiosothy shouts expensive booze for friends at the GFH.

    His offside Hatta takes his buddies for fine dining at the new Posh eateries in old Race Course.

    And the Foreigners pick up the tab .. No sweat and no probs for the inhabitants or their budgets.

    FUTA in contrast wreck the education of our Dalit undergrads,while trying to help the Elite roll Rakapaksa,

    And cry foul and complain to Cameron & Co when the govt tries to stop the JVP goons who violate the Human Rights of our pretty rural girls and nerdy boys who come to campus.

    And get paid big Dosh every month from the inhabitants taxes..

    This ex FUTA Boss has the cheek to say the NGOs and their cheer squads are the baddies…

    How cool is that !!!!

  • 0
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    Come on CT, why did you feel the need to justify your criticism of the CPA by soliciting the support of other government critics like Dr Dewasri?

    All you have done now is to dilute the opposition to the regime and given them more ammunition to fight the NGOs. It is a shame that the brave few opponents of the regime are being damaged just because they spent some of the donor’s funds on drinks.

    CT could have used it’s time and energy on questioning Mahinda Rajapaksa’s billions and his sons million dollar racing cars or Van Gunawardena’s multimillion dollar properties in Sri Lanka and abroad or the vast wealth accumulated by some of the ministers under the present regime.

    Government corruption is so glaring but all CT can see is a few dollars misspent by the CPA on drinks. The Rajapaksa’s and their cronies are stealing the people’s money but at least the few dollars stolen by the CPA are not people’s money. I am disappointed with CT and that’s sad. My advice to CT is stay united to get rid of this evin, corrupt and undemocratic regime at a time when it appears to be a real possibility. Thank you.

    • 1
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      Ct is supposed to be about ‘truth’ and ‘justice’ (among other things). So as long as they are anti-government any wrongdoings should not be exposed? Extraordinary view to say the least!!

  • 1
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    In a nutshell, Dr Pakiasothy cannot be sincere in his activities, if he is into fraud. However, he is human and may want to continue a luxurious life style at the expense of foreign organisations funding his CPA. He is not alone in this game of deceit.
    As per Van der Poorten’s comments, its simply bizarre. How on earth can he justify corruption within NGOs, just by assuming the state officials are into greater corruption.

  • 1
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    I think there is a confusion. I have worked 10 years for various NGOs throughout the world. Yes, what I have seen was depressing. So much that I left the sector. True, a lot of NGOs try to keep themselves alive (not that UN and ICRC are doing the exact same thing on a larger scale) .. but it is mainly mismanagement and unprofessional naive experimenting on the ‘beneficiaries’ and not so much greedy corruption. Those are two entire different things!

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