The Sunday Leader

Sri Lankan Politicos Are Squeaky Clean!

by Gamini Weerakoon

Believe it or not, post-Independence Sri Lankan politicians have a squeaky clean record – at least on paper! We cannot recall a single politician who hit the headlines with a financial or sex scandal in the past 68 years. Nor have any of them been brought before courts and convicted for offences of sex and money which politicians abroad find irresistible.

Have they been true Buddhist Upasakayas in their pure white clothes carrying trays of flowers adhering to precepts of the Dhamma – as projected on TV – while being engaged in the dirty business of politics as bloody killers and crooks.

Rumour mills however have been spinning stories on amassing of ill-gotten wealth abroad – Swiss hotels, shipping lines, golf courses, vast fruit orchards, Hollywood suites London residencies not forgetting Colombo 7 mansions, Swiss and Dubai bank accounts.

If so, why is it that none of it has come to light? Is it the Sri Lankan psyche: Never mind what they have made, now it’s our turn or the old world charm of share and share alike?  On the other hand is it because there was no investigative agency competent to probe corrupt politicians in power or even those who have been kicked out with the piles they made?

The Criminal Investigations Department (CID) was the agency deployed by all governments to investigate various forms of serious crimes as well as political crimes and even terrorism. With police appointments after 1970 being heavily influenced by ruling party politicians the CID was no different to any other police station or government department having officers with strong political commitments and obligations to political leaders.


83rd most corrupt nation

Whether the newly constituted FCID (Financial Crimes Investigation Division) would be a professional body of police investigations or a political instrument as alleged by those questioned, time will tell but it seems to be the only organisation, so far, that has taken on investigations into alleged crimes of former VIPs.

Although there have been no post-Independence Sri Lankan politicians behind bars,  the Transparency International Perception Index for corruption in the public sector for 2015 places Sri Lanka  as the 83rd most corrupt country in a list of 168 countries. In South Asia happy Bhutan – the Shangri-La – is the least corrupt with the ranking   27th, India ranks 76th, Pakistan 115th and Bangladesh 137th. Denmark is ranked the least corrupt country.


Abuse of power

Corruption should not be confined to only cash under the table, mysterious deposits in bank accounts and transfer of material assets. Corruption has been so blatant that laws were flouted openly and conventions thrown to the winds. Using political muscle to flout laws and conventions became a fact of Sri Lankan life. Transporting tens of thousands of cheering squads to political rallies in SLTB buses without payments being made, free TV ads for political bosses, state owned vehicles free of charge for electioneering, free use of SLAF helicopters for  private purposes of VVIPs, clown princes closing up main roads for road races and even taking a leather ball wrapped  around with ‘pirith nool’ round the country with chanting of pirith by monks for the Sri Lanka cricket  team to emerge as champs, are examples of corruption and abuse of power that went on unabated.

Some special investigative units to go into these innumerable instances of abuse of power are called for lest the feeling of  impunity from such abuse are considered as usual political practices and be taken for granted.

Taking on the innumerable kinds of corruption that have proliferated in recent times may in this little isle not be possible but shouldn’t the thoughts of Xi Jingping the Chinese President of: Fighting tigers and flies (powerful and less powerful bureaucrats) resolutely be also considered?


Kalam’s formula

Outstanding Indian scientist and former India President Abdul Kalam on corruption has said: If a country is to be free of corruption and be a nation of beautiful minds three societal members are required: father, mother and teacher.

The immediate reaction to it would be to say: Quite, easily done. But from a Sri Lankan point of view it will not be as easy.

Today, parents particularly in big towns have thrown a fundamental precept of all religions -not to utter lies – and instead are coaching their offspring to parrot lies at interviews to get into ‘big schools’. False home addresses have been submitted and the children taught to lie about the location of their fictitious homes.

The rat race begins at the kindergarten and the emphasis for the young is not so much to tell the truth but to be ‘smart’. This fraudulent system has been in motion for many years and no doubt will continue. As for Kalam’s recommendation about teachers, what hopes can we entertain when school principals are being hauled up before courts for taking bribes to admit school children?

The battle against corruption is lost at the kindergarten itself!

About sex scandals of politicians not hitting the headlines, we have to ask about it from ourselves – the media. Are reporting of frolics of politicos in Singapore or Bangkok or Colombo’s hideouts taboo and only poor boys and girls in public parks fair game?

A staid defender of the free media said: We are good Sri Lankans. We don’t have sex.

6 Comments for “Sri Lankan Politicos Are Squeaky Clean!”

  1. gabriella

    Aney ! Aney !! SOF, you are so gullible. Sri Lankan’s do have sex. But only on their wedding night, when their mummy or daddy stands by the bed with a manual and gives instructions.

    But, when mummy and daddy leave with the manual, all sex ceases. Because nobody in the country can function without a bloody instruction manual !

    What a disgraceful performance to be ranked only 83rd on the corruption list. This gives credence to the belief that Sri Lankans will never be world beaters.

    A more serious and credible challenge for the title (most corrupt nation) could be mounted if S.B. Dissanayake was made Treasurer.

  2. Psycho

    Of course our politikka’ are clean, otherwise they will be in jail.

  3. carlion

    Why does the author single out Buddhist politicians when there have been hundreds of Christian, Hindu, Muslims etc. who have held the reins of Minister, Deputy etc. over long periods of time in different Cabinets? Is the writer a non Buddhist like many others who are out to denigrate Sinhala Buddhists?

  4. Sarath

    You poor man! You must be in dreamland.

  5. daya weerasinghe

    Sri Lankan Politicos Are Squeaky Clean!…..whats this a joke..!?

  6. As a Newbie, I am always searching online for articles that can aid me. Thank you

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