21 July, 2024


The China Story Can Bring In A Tide Against Former President; Will The Government Use This?

By Shyamon Jayasinghe

Shyamon Jayasinghe

Weak Response of Government

The New york Times’s story about Mahindsa Rajapaksa having got millions of dollars as election money off the China Harbour Company account offers the yahapalanaya government and the broad civil support movement for good governance a wonderful opportunity to torpedo forever the febrile campaign of the Rajapakses to return to power ever since the family lost in 2015. This campaign we call ‘Mahinda Sulanaga,’ because that is what the organisers wanted it to be. The weak response from the government is unbelievable!

It is so surprising that one wonders whether the government is either secretly backing the former dictator for reasons best known to it. It also may be that key persons in this government are also having dirt-soil in their hands that have to be covered up. Silence in response is sometimes a good strategy; but not when a glorious political opportunity is missed thereby.

Mahinda Defenders Pummel the Messenger

On the other hand, we have had many backers of the Rajapaksa regime like former Central Bank Governer Cabral and Viyathmaga organizer Dr  Nalaka Godahewa swiftly slaying the messenger. The latter want us to believe that the New York Times is a ragtag publication (kele paththare).Please Google “New York Times,” and this is what you will find:

“The New York Times is an American newspaper based in New York City with worldwide influence and readership. Founded in 1851, the paper has won 125 Pulitzer Prizes, more than any other newspaper. The New York Times is ranked 17th in the world by circulation.” 

An impressive achievement isn’t it? And a great-looking bit of investigative journalism by that team has given us this story, which is full of specific facts, allegations and  verifiable evidence. The story claims to have copies of transactions that the Chartered bank had over the transfer of dollars deposited by cheque to this bank. The story also says that Mahinda had given a portion of that money to a prominent Bhikku in order to round up the respected Sanga for the campaign.

Mahinda Rajapaksa’s Statement

In a statement issued today by Mahinda the former President denies the charge of having got 7.3 million dollars from the China Harbour Company for his election campaign. Although it is his job to deny, it is the task of this government to have this seriously investigated. The onus is now in the hands of  President Sirisena to use his famed sword.

Mahinda makes a number of illogical assertions in this statement. He states that the fact that the Prime Minister has accepted giving the the Port City Project back to the China Harbour Company proves that that Company is cleared of charges like this. Worse still, Mahinda also goes on to defend the Hambantota Project in a preposterous manner: “There was never any problem about meeting the payments for the Hambantota port because it was paid out of the profits of the Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA). The Auditor General’s report for 2014 states that the profit of the SLPA in 2014 after paying all loans and taxes was Rs. 8.8 billion.” What logic is that? To pay Peter we rob Paul. Hence, no problem in paying the port dues!

Serious Implications

For three distinct reasons this China story is too serious to be ignored by the government. In the first place, if it is correct, the suspicions become credible about Mahinda Rajapaksa having been hand-in- glove with Chinese firms  in order to earn illicit money for favours over a range of projects. A China loan given this way carries a precondition that the recipient country must give the job to Beijing’s preferred Chinese Company. Such a precondition also creates a special close nexus with political leaders in the recipient countries and the Beijing parties. No tenders to be called for. Hence, plenty of room for politicians to build in commissions into the award. Another condition is that construction work is to be executed by Chinese labour-thus denying any flow-on employment benefits to the recipient country’s labour.

The practice is thus ridden with holes.

It is said that China’s method of subjugation is to give loans for any project without scrutiny. When it comes to payaback time, Beijing plays hardball and ends up owning a portion of the country’s land or owning special rights to facilities. An ABC documentary I saw recently in Australia, detailed this alleged game plan of China now going on in the Pacific island of Vanuvatu. The New York Times story refers to a diplomat called Rogdrigo who stated that  in the case of the Hambantota Project one of the guarantees that Beijing extracted out of our government was that we promise to let China know who comes into the port and who goes out.

Foreign Influence?

In the second place, the story if proven  shows that a foreign power has influenced our local politics in order to get a result they want.  This is serious, too. In that event, Mahinda Rajapakse has bartered away our country encouraging foreign interference for his personal gain much like the then reigning Kings of Sri Lanka who compromised with invading foreign powers. Mahinda’s self-claimed nationalism then becomes a hoax.

In today’s context, polticians and political parties do need a lot of funds to fight an election.This must be admitted. In Australia, the government reimburses election costs to some extent on a computation formula that is based on the number of votes obtained by the recipients. On the other hand, there are laws in Australia that require the declaration of sources of electoral funding and their deployment. In the case of foreign fund flows, the law requires that they be declared immediately.

It is urgent that the government of Sri Lanka bring in similar legislation.

Sullying our Sanga?

Thirdly, the specific allegation about giving millions to a high profile Buddhist monk for rounding up other monks needs digging in, too. If this be true, then Mahinda Rajapakse’s perceived image of being a “true Buddhist leader,” is dashed to the ground as a hopeless illusion. In the same manner and conversely, the current deterioration of the once glorious Sanga and Sasana becomes evident and something needs urgently to be done in order to reinstate that image.

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Latest comments

  • 1

    Readers be careful of this number its spam .+94773945535

  • 2

    Prejudice is the cause of human destruction, for it encourages and protects the bigots ,racists and Criminals

    The Hambantota Port ,

    What is the truth? The proposal was on the decision board long ago by previous politicians too ,just like winning the war by Mahinda ,the port was also successfully completed by Mahinda .

    Mahinda s a super PR and he is well seasoned he may be an extremist ,to be honest most people who are head on ritualists publicly of all religions are extremists its okay as long as they don’t think its okay to use their own belief to destroy others .

    India with all its short comings have taken a bold step to monitor all Social media of bigotry ,racisms etc.Fb and WhatsApp too.

    We all know there are such groups from all races in FB and WhatsApp ,so does the government ,which was the reason for gintota and Diggana attacks .
    Why has not the government arrested all these members in fb and whatsapp groups ,simple most groups have a mixture of all races too.

    These are political stooges ,that is why Sarath Fonseka was not appointed and the government is not taking action.

    In 2020 when Gota wins he will fix all the holes and the NGOS behind them.

    This is going to upset lot of people and effect a lot .

    Hard luck

    So say all the the ills you want now against them ,after 2020 .
    No one will dare

  • 1

    What to expect from 2020 onwards

    My3 will be reselect as President

    The entire Slfpers , Thondas , Jhu ,Muslim Congress will cross over to SLPP ,Muttaappan will prepare the buryani for the occasion

    Mahinda will become PM .

    He won’t abolish the executive Presidency until My3 completes Hus term ,at rye end of his term it will be abolished my3 will be absorbed into the government .
    The future Elections will be only General Elections ,back to Westminster.
    For time being .

    Gota and basil will never ever give up their US passports

    They will both work in administration positions in the future.

    Namal will be the next most powerful Minister in the Cabinet.

  • 0

    This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2/

  • 0

    Brillant stuff, brilliant English, bravo. Here’s our number 1 writer of Sri Lanka today.

  • 0

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  • 0

    Today’s news says NYT editor had condemned Appe Aanduwa’s proposal to Bar-be-Queing two Tamil reporters to get the source from them. Under Ranil’s adminitration, other than local investigators and repoters being punished for having the truth briought out, it will not happen that the Chinese government’s firms reimbursing misused People’s loan money.

    (The world’s biggest coward, Old King is demanding investigating local reporters under Sinhala Only Jury, fearing to get in touch with NYT and further expose their theft. In that case how he will get courage to sue NYT? )

  • 0

    Shyamon Jayasinghe ~ “The China Story Can Bring In A Tide Against Former President; Will The Government Use This?”

    Sorry Shyamon the answer is “No”. The China story is but a ripple. GoSL is wading in its own floods.
    Lankans have been conditioned to be blasé when it comes to corruption/nepotism/impunity. Compare the interest shown to the SriLankan Airlines slow leaks of deliberate frauds with the interest shown to the leopard killing with sticks.
    MR team can easily handle ‘ripples’. What is a ripple compared to tides? After all Tsunamies can be put to good use!

  • 0

    Shyamon Aiye we want a nice one about Vijayakala

  • 0

    No way, Mr. Shyaman, so long as Ranil and Maithree in power, Rajapaksas are safe. That was exactly what happened over the last three years.

  • 0

    Us government has declared officially that it spent 600 million us dollars to topple he government of Sri Lanka. in 2015.
    Obama in his official visit to India thanked India for helping to topple the government in Sri Lanka in 2015.
    John Kerry admitted that it spent millions of us dollars to change the government of Sri Lnka.
    In his offial disclosure in 201 in Sri Lanka.

    This is official.
    The question is how did the Us use this money.
    No doubt through individuals who still continue to write in mass media defending the current regime, so called NGO groups who are still active and news papers , columnists in social media Andrews sites such as Colombo Telegraph.
    The evident truth is this. US is still funding propaganda to keep the current regime, which is the most corrupt, incompetent andprowestern government since colonial rule.
    The US , I fear would spend even more than 600,million US dollars to keep this government in power by hook or by crook.
    No one should be surprised if CT editors and columnists are pursuing this goal

  • 0

    Shyaman , interestingly , comes to the fore only to sling mud at former regime, .He has never commented on the bond scam, bribes received by MPS, , corruption on a massive scale by ministers of this government, mass unemployment under the present regime,willful destruction of the economy.
    Shyaman does not miss an opportunity to blame the former rulers for all evils

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