The Sunday Leader

Attempt To Halt Corruption Probes On Rajapaksa Regime

Sri Lankans love to gossip. From the village kopikade (coffee shop by the road) to office canteens, Colombo’s more exclusive water holes and the sitting rooms of Colombo 7 and now the plusher residential suburbs, what do we do: Gossip.

Don’t blame imperialists, neocolonialists and the whole disgusting tribe into the conversation. Gossiping is a Sri Lankan national trait as seen by that apt Sinhala saying: Rata wata weta bendath kata wata weta badinda bae. A fence can be built around a country but not around a mouth.

And what do we gossip about? Sex, cricket, business or the usual subjects that other nations gossip on? Yes, to a certain extent but the basic substance is politics.

Political gossip has gained greater relevance with the investigations into the activities of the ‘Stars’ of the former regime, who are televised often being brought in and out of courts. The due processes of the law are being followed, as lawyers say. This is quite commendable because opponents of the former regime want instant justice delivered on these ‘Stars’ and strong pressures for instant justice has been rejected by the government.

The slow progress of the judicial process is to be appreciated in that the legal process is being followed, however slow the process may be. This is perhaps an instance where justice delayed is justice being done contrary to the traditional view of speedy justice being delivered.

Watching the spectacle of suspects being brought by ‘black marias’ being remanded and handcuffed to be taken to prison, coveys an impression that the TV publicity is being relished by these ‘Stars’.

Martyrdom for some cause or the other – in this case alleged political victimization – is Oxygen for politicians and is apparent from the glee with which the remanded but smiling suspects show their handcuffed wrists to TV cameras.

However, some of them have complained about being brought in and out from prison to courts to be remanded again, released and remanded again. This is a matter for the courts to decide on.

The judicial process which the leading lights of the previous regime are subjected to, cannot be considered as a political witch hunt as alleged by some because there has been a public outcry against corrupt practices of these individuals as well as mass scale defrauding of state funds. Some of cases filed in courts allege abuse of power not only by those who held government office but also those who usurped power resorting to nepotism.

It is a difficult task to keep politics and justice apart and a political backlash is quite likely strike against those behind the forces initiating prosecutions. A known way of hitting back at opponents responsible for prosecution is to level the same charge against at the initiators.

President Maithripala Sirisena allegedly seeking a bribe from an Australian company smacks of a counter attack on him for his crackdown on bribery and corruption during the previous regime. The allegation is carried in two Australian newspapers belonging to the same company.

We will not comment on these reports other than to ask why it took 7 years to make this allegation – the bribe alleged to have been solicited in 2009 when Maithripala Sirisena was Minister of Agriculture Development and Agrarian Services. Why did these Australian companies and newspapers wait for seven years till Sirisena was the President and commence his campaign against corruption in Sri Lanka.

Newspapermen in Sri Lanka know very well the procedure adopted by some foreign institutions when they fail to win a tender or award in a foreign country. They accuse ministers and high ranking officials of soliciting bribes. The media gets a ‘scoop’ and for Western media it is a ‘scoop on Third World Corruption’.

Apparently such stories are meant to deter the Good Governance government from cracking down on corruption. President Sirisena, it is  reported, will take legal action in this regard and no doubt will not be thwarted by such conspiracies generated on Sri Lankan soil.




3 Comments for “Attempt To Halt Corruption Probes On Rajapaksa Regime”

  1. sunil vijaya

    if you compare sri lanka and australia, land mass wise it’s vastly difference but the rest is almost comparable. aussie politicians are corrupt as their counterparts in sri lanka. the state employees are regimental in both countries and take their jobs as ‘cool’ as possible. the courts are far too regimental in both countries and follow the british pattern (although attorneys in sri lanak) .the cops are corrupt in both countries, the amount of money transferred matters. poor management in both. the values are same unwarranted emphasis on english language, cricket etc. drinking culture same in both countries, australia beer sri lanka hard liquor. the appreciation of former colonial power england runs in both countries. the list in endless (although our burgher fraternity might disagree!) in fact you fail to find any difference at all.

  2. max


  3. Nimal

    We must allow good governance irrespective of any obstructions.It should be a lesson to all who take up politics.

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