1 December, 2021

Blog

Whosoever Hath, We Shall Give All

By Ravi Perera

Ravi Perera

Hobbling about our Covid-19 devastated landscape are many a breadwinner, having lost their employment, now desperate to feed their families. Even among those lucky enough to retain their jobs, many are on reduced pay, the prices of daily essentials meanwhile have reached   stratospheric heights.

We now learn that there is another reality. There are a handful of our countrymen busy hiding their wealth, away from the country, the public eye and the tax man. Exhaustive work by outstanding investigative journalists have unravelled the names of the dubious of the world, hiding their filthy lucre in tax havens. Among these rich and infamous are a few names from sunny Sri Lanka, a country presently choking in the vice-like grip of foreign debt.

Interestingly, these are not the usual suspects, at least not the obvious ones. One would have thought that our so called captains of industry, those running near monopolies, or professionals extracting unconscionably exorbitant fees would be scrambling to hide their black money. They are not on this list. Here is a “B” list, lesser known names, not from the country’s top of the pops 10 richest. There are several with “Indian” family names, relatively new immigrants with a reputation for sharp business practices, names that one time ruled all trading in Colombo. Of the indigenous names exposed, most are new to money; the ‘nouveau riche’; steadily climbing the social ladder, buying influence, throwing their weight around; funders of politicians, sponsors of sports, patrons of good causes. Cynics, who know the cost of everything, but the value of nothing, leaving behind corrupted systems, a diminished public life and a broken country.

The list is not homogenous, black money can be made in many ways. A few on the list are said to be from old money. Explaining one particular account, a club member whispered knowingly, “They had money, his father was a top official in a British company in the old days, had a big house in Colombo 7”. Such trivia is expounded with a certain smugness, a world of private knowledge unknowable to the listener. Of course, this is tosh, for the “knowledgeable” club member the thrill is in the telling, not in the fidelity of his tale. There was no explanation how that inherited 20 odd Perches in Colombo 7, translated into millions of dollars in a Swiss bank.

On the list are no known industrialists, manufacturers or growers, a telling fact. The money in these secretive tax havens belong to tradesmen, importers, commission agents, facilitators, even social hangers on, a country exploited to the bone. Some of these black money holders do not even maintain an office in this country, employ very few and perhaps carry no personal tax file. Their own employment record will be hazy, in fact, many of them do not even have the educational qualifications to obtain a well-paying job. Obviously, they have other skills, we have a system that rewards such skills.

Apparently, there is even a retired public servant on the list; yes, the public servants are presently indulging in union action demanding a raise in their Rs. 30,000 something a month salary! An octogenarian domiciled overseas, a spectre that appears in a commanding position whenever the Ranil Wickremesinghe UNP forms a government, has huge amounts hidden in a tax haven. This is an illustration of the special kind of folly that accompanies that unfortunate leader. Forty years ago, when this man was employed in the public service, the world was very different, our economy was different, attitudes were different; the typewriter was advanced technology then, there were no three-wheelers, a mobile phone was something in science fiction; yet this geriatric is imposed on the country as a critical managerial asset.

The leader pronounces, “He knows how the public sector works and makes decisions”, thus invalidating  the millions who have come out of our schools since; for forty long years we have not produced a single other person capable of understanding the public service, or one inclined to make decisions like this eighty-year-old man!

This self-serving “Brahmanism”, the secrets of “Statecraft” possessed by only a select few in the elect order, is a necessary lie, like the raucously claimed elitism of our leading schools, like the loudly acclaimed benevolence of our political dynasties, a lie to be drilled into the heads of a pathetic nation. These elite schools produce world beaters, first class citizens, honest and skilled, while our leading families are worthy of emulation, deserving of veneration! When, after a life time of selfless service they depart this world, a grateful people name public institutions in their name, religious ceremonies are held to invoke more blessings on them, annual lectures are delivered by learned persons in their memory. Our society has prepared the people for that abasement, elite generated social mythology affirms these grateful practices.

We only compare us to ourselves, a former government, a past leader of Sri Lanka. Outside the shores of this small country, our leaders are only looked at dismissively, if not disparagingly; self-serving wind bags and small-timers wanting to be national leaders; some killers, some robbers, over-rated pretenders with a bloated sense of self. The truth dawns when things like our foreign investments, tourist numbers, per person productivity, national development rate are compared with neighbouring countries. In hindsight, we see that all the ‘Brahmins’ and all the ‘decision makers’ have not made any difference to what amounts only to a very average national performance since 1948.

Not a single statistic, not a single criterion with regard to comparative development, justifies the hoopla. There is nothing to show a break-through era or a pivotal leader, post-independence. The inconvenient truth is that we are stuck firmly in the Third World, a near failed State, poor performers in practically every field, surviving from day to day on the benevolence of international lenders. For the humble citizen, applying for a foreign Visa is the moment of reckoning; his person amounts to so little, his country is treated with such contempt!

But the lie must be drummed in, the system continued, for the politician and his clan must remain leaders, in perpetuity!

As to the tax haven investor from Colombo 7, the club member’s knowledge is vast and varied. “A typical Sri Lankan high class product with the required credentials. He is smooth, has friends on both sides of the political divide. The guy is trusted and respected for his confidentiality. His well-known spiritual bent also adds to his reliability”

This blather of course did not explain the millions spirited away to tax havens by the Colombo 7 resident, the tortuous path there, the front companies formed all over the world, obvious attempts to cover the tracks.

There arise several crucial questions regarding these funds. If the account holder is domiciled in Sri Lanka, how did he earn this money? What is his business? Were his earnings declared for taxes? How did he take this money overseas? Why were such efforts made to confuse the money trail? Is this money qualified under the recently declared tax amnesty?

We are not certain whether this country has adequate laws to cover the extended scope of all these complicated transactions, much of which have occurred in other countries. Our investigative structures are primitive, severely handicapped in human and other resources. One of the feeblest being the Tax Department, delighting in chasing rabbits, missing the elephants in the room completely. Clearly, those who have huge sums deposited in these tax havens, have the resources to influence the decision makers. For the millions of the tax paying, law abiding Sri Lankan citizens, there is little reason to expect a successful investigation, leave alone a just punishment.

St. Matthew may have meant the holy rule – “for whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more” spiritually, but in our country the interpretation is literal, in the rawest sense, for whosoever hath, we shall give all.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Latest comments

  • 5
    0

    Citizens should Arise!

    • 1
      0

      RTF,
      .
      Just returning from SL, I am telling you, not many would utter a single word against cruel politics of MADAMULANA thiriannu.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zOMjL5SI8-Q

      Cost of living is reaching unbearable levels to even middle class families. So what more talk about the poor ? (whose wages are not even 2 dollars a day?).
      .
      I spoke to a cross section people whereever I met, to collect my own info, so that I can have my own picture about falling nation. What became clear to me is people are though aggressive but dont want to heart out yet today.

      Shortly before 2015 election, I happened to be SL, there people were very much to Rajapakshes…. And after 2019 election I was there, the real change was seen as people praised about Gota’s wall paintings as if it was the saline to falling nation.
      :
      This time looking back, people though criticise the govt, but that is not enough. It has become more or less like ” survival of day today life”: Whereever I went to, my eyes could not believe, but there were ques for FUEL and daily needs.

      Except one single woman, out of 100, ” ehema kiyanna epa mahaththyo, Rajapakshe mee rata LTTE walin bera dhunna kiwwa – please not to be ungrateful that Rjapakshes saved this land from Ltters”.

    • 1
      1

      Kelaniya Cheewaradariya is offered. He will become VC to University of Kelaniya.
      .
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tPTyKL2j4qs

      But what post would be offered to that KAPURALA – schizophrenic young man ?

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ok4241BAAqA

      What would be the gift to DELETE jayaweera`s slaves ?
      Chathura Alwis and the other bitch that would do anything any everything for any low acts.

      • 1
        1

        My worry is not even a single person came forward to protect REAL RELICS at this wonderful temple.
        .
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tpvwyfyfa3M

        Is it not high time to provide PSYCHOLOGICAL THERAPIES to the following candidates.

        NEW VC to University of Kelaniya
        Muruththettuwa Cheewaradhariya
        Udara KIYANA kAPUWA
        Dhammika Paniya maker
        Wimal Buruwanse
        Mahinda Rajapakshe
        Ghanakka
        .

    • 1
      1

      No jokes it is high time PSYCHOLOGISTS to give therapies to all those who work with Kaliamma and Ghanakka.
      .
      So those who expect Nandasena to make wonders- can wait another few decades.
      :
      Nagalokaya means not A WORLD filled with snakes but Naga is terms to refer a tribe.
      :
      Why dont the EXPERTS clarify this ?

  • 3
    2

    When St. Matthew said “whosoever hath” context was to show the importance of creative productivity and not from robbing people’s welfare inheritance from the state. God also said “Thou shall not steal” So sad that money grabbers have no revelation of a higher realm of justice, even if they escape world judiciary here.

  • 2
    0

    Tax avoidance is not a crime, nor is stashing funds in offshore accounts, registered under shell companies. Then, there are other loopholes for businessmen, exploited by tax consultants with the mega rich paying the least amount of tax. Trump has not paid tax for years & even in his Presidential days, paid around $700 (although now being investigated), less than tax paid by a nurse or a teacher. It is depressing when hard earned money has to be shared with the tax man but it is our social obligation to pay our fair share according to our wealth. I am not sure about tax laws in SL relating to offshore accounts but it would be interesting to know how Nadesen accumulated such vast sums of money to be invested abroad. Certainly, his ingenuity in investments should be applauded, unless, the source was just kickbacks he has collected on behalf of the Rajapakse clan & laundered in Seychelles, Cyprus & other tax havens. The laundered money is then invested in works of art & real estate in UK, Australia, Middle East etc., in which case, Nadesen is just another sleazy crony, not a financial wizard. Obviously, SL a land of opportunities for some.

    • 0
      1

      Tax-avoidance IS a crime. Shameful thing is there are no legitimate tax laws in place in Sri Lanka. America is a different place. Even if DT didn’t pay taxes in money, he paid it in kind. It is known he paid his workers well beyond the national pay-scales. He also invested in national programs. Nothing doing by our Lankan oligarchs. All is stolen money from the sweat of our suffering masses working for these concerns with no decent wages and salaries in place. No way has the money been reinvested in the land.

      • 1
        0

        Rtf,
        .
        Average in our are not honest to them. Their day today activities are mainly based on pretending to be someone else. .
        .
        Law and order is not respected by politicians and public servants .
        .
        The best example is Nandasena himself. Pledged some thing else but his mediation exonerated a number of crime investigations that previous govt filed goimg by primafacie evidence. Can it ever be possible in the US? Or in Germany? 🐃🐕🐃🐕🐃🐕🐃🐕🐃🐕🐃

  • 3
    0

    Arrest Nirupama and Thiru together with all other names appearing on the Pandora Papers. If not Sarath Weerasekera and “Ambanda Slave” Sabry must resign.

    • 1
      0

      My dear Buddhist, would thief s mother ever say against the thief? .
      .
      Main headache Nandaseeni himself. .
      So as the incumbent chief monk of Krlaniya temple. Once upon a time people believed if u worship Kelani wiharaya once, all accumulated sins would be washed out.
      .
      But my eyes could nt believe but true the place was seen as ganika madanak as of today.
      .
      Jathiye perethadanda has made it like that because of their greed..
      .
      🐃🐕😥🐃🐕😥🐃🐕😥🐃🐕😥

  • 1
    1

    Buddhist 1, Instead of arresting Nirupama and Thiru as you say, and they will leave all this behind anyway when they die, why not arrest the money and get our nation out of this desperate financial crisis we are in. Common sense is so uncommon. Vengeance is mine and I will repay says the Lord. Kingly family saturated with all the wealth rupee, dollar, yuan etc saying we are bankrupt and so have to rob citizens seems like hell is on earth. The warning is that Lucifer and VP will be their eternal companions, and dollars wont matter.

    • 0
      0

      davidthegood,
      _
      Impossible to arrest the money…..all is interwoven into the global financial system. If countries start demanding their money back, whole global networks will collapse.

      Off-shore accounts began in S.America with drug money placed in Panama. Then came the prostitution, pedophile, gambling networks – trade very lucrative being on the Panama canal…..Suez canal not being that lucrative with the Muslimans (thank God for the Muslimans).

      With that collateral in place, White oligarchs decided to use this established system of criminality as a roulette-wheel for global commerce. Whilst those two bloody White lots (USA vs. Russia) sit bulging eyes at each other, our Ape-Ratae gammayas decided to shake their behinds and join in the global fun (from the suffering of our masses especially from the labor camps of the middle-east). China then decided to join in by setting up its own Panama in Port Financial City – Colombo, to overturn the Western b.s. Got to admit that China in the end, can’t bear the sham and shame is considering going back to its Communist principles.

  • 0
    0

    Only way to clean up the mess is to go the Biden way of B3W. This will include incarcerating the offenders for a long, long, time, thus sending a strong message to other wannabe Panama-style investors ; political persons to be kicked out of office; Citizens Arise!

    Now finally the artificial money created via criminality, tax-evasion and downright stealing from the Masses (in places like Motherland, where there is no adequate tax-structure) can be diverted to good Socialized use for especially creating the climate-change industry.

    (Art-work can be bought by countries for a nominal fee, and put on display for a paying public to view)

Leave A Comment

Comments should not exceed 200 words. Embedding external links and writing in capital letters are discouraged. Commenting is automatically disabled after 5 days and approval may take up to 24 hours. Please read our Comments Policy for further details. Your email address will not be published.