WHEN YOU HAVE A FOOL AS CENTRAL BANK GOVERNOR
- DISASTERS KEEPING HAPPENING
post of Governor of the Central Bank is not only one of
the most prestigious posts in the country but also a key
position in the management of the economy. Since the
Central Bank was established many have held that post.
Not all of them were of equal caliber or integrity.
the current Governor, Nivard Cabraal is the pits. The
man is fundamentally dishonest and that more than his
lack of qualifications for the job has had disastrous
effect on the country’s struggling economy.
problem with Nivard Cabraal is that his ambitious are
much greater than his abilities. A mediocre accountant,
he decided that politics would be where he could rise
quickly. He is very ambitious and shows glimpses of his
liking to be a rich man. He was a dismal failure in
electoral politics losing more than once to get elected
to the Western Provincial Council from the UNP. When
Ranil Wickremesinghe became Prime Minister in 2002
Cabraal asked for a top post in the Treasury or the
Central Bank. Ranil Wickremesinghe whatever else his
faults are can see a fraud miles away and just laughed
it off. A miffed Cabraal backed Mahinda Rajapaksa in the
2005 presidential elections. As the pay off he asked for
and got the post of Governor of the Central Bank. The
career officials of the Central Bank were appalled. But
the President values loyalty and those who supported him
when few others did over ability, qualifications and
integrity. Even the fact that the Central Bank at the
time was investigating the Gold Coin pyramid scheme and
Cabraal was accused of being neck deep in that fraud
was not an issue for the President.
reason why Cabraal wanted the post so desperately was
exactly for that reason. He not only stopped the
investigation but dismantled the unit that was carrying
out the investigation.
was Nivard Cabraal’s first act as the Governor and since
then it has been one disaster after another.
lead story today is how Cabraal squashed a report from
the Central Bank warning serious wrongdoing by Golden
Key as far back as 2007. If action had been taken at
that time, thousands of depositors would not have lost
their savings. Deshamanya Lalith Kotelawala and his
wife Doctor Lady Kotelawala would not have creamed off
billions of depositors money. The biggest financial
fraud in the country’s history estimated at a massive
100 billion rupees could have been prevented.
good news for the depositors especially those who
deposited money after 2007, can now sue the Governor and
the Central Bank. But here again they will have to wait
until Chief Justice Sarath N. Silva retires in early
June. Both are deemed to be good pals and the Chief
Justice has made clear that he would not tolerate any
petition with Cabraal as a respondent.
most countries, public utterances of the Central Bank
Governor, is studied closely as it would indicate the
fiscal policy of the government. But in Sri Lanka every
time Cabraal opens his mouth, economists and business
leaders double up laughing and Central Bank officials
hide their faces in embarrassment. Even the President
is now known to refer to Cabraal and a “nariyek”
Cabraal had an ounce of intelligence, he would take the
advice of the highly qualified and experienced staff at
the Central Bank before he opens his mouth. But what is
lacking in Cabraal is intelligence. When the whole world
was taking emergency steps to cope with worldwide
economic downturn, Cabraal confidently assured the
nation that it would have no effect on Sri Lanka because
of all things enshrined in the “Mahinda Chinthnaya”.
most countries other than in a Zimbabwe style
dictatorship, that statement would have been enough to
sack the governor of the Central Bank. But then this is
and we have learnt to suffer fools. Just like the
President we too should just call him a “nariya” and
have a good laugh every time he opens his mouth.