Tuesday, February 24, 2015

On the slow action by the GoSL in dealing with corruption

Serendipity put up a good post on this vexed subject that drew a very good comment from an anonymous contributor. It says a lot that people need to understand and I've reproduced it below:

Comment 1:

Making good on Elections promises is not easy, when you use the due process rules of law, which the previous govt. did away with. It simply takes time. In the case of MPs and their families it is the same like when a Policemen are taken in, fellow officers also think long and hard, and until there is a cast iron case they don’t take action at the same speed as for us mere mortals. That is not an excuse but there are things that can easily and not easily be proved in a court of law.

Take the case of Al Capone the notorious gangster, he was in the end indicted on MAIL FRAUD as that was more easily proved over the real crimes he had committed, due to witness tampering etc.

Remember our Parliamentary Gangsters have the best lawyers at their disposal, and there is nothing worse than the case failing in Court after all the obvious evidence. Think about it you lose respect for even the law then!

Under Gota’s Law, Duminda would have been locked up immediately, and would have been shot dead, whilst trying to run away, when he was taken to a spot where drugs would be found. Under Maithri’s law, the witness protection bill only just passed in Parliament last week offering a modicum of protection for those who are willing to testify against Duminda!

Then you have Govt. MPs who will also be implicated if Duminda squeals, you have his brother Raynor helping the Govt. and thereby seeking some respite, and then you have the evidence. It looks now that investigations are looking into the source of funds in the 60 bank accounts. Then under what law do you arrest him? It is how they hide their dirty deeds that make it difficult.

Then we have a Police and CID that is actually incompetent in finding financial fraud, and exchange control violations, so prosecution takes time.

THE PUBLIC IS IMPATIENT – Ranil will be voted out of office due to this impatience – and we are back to square one.

Who do we blame Ranil or the public? Or even the 100 day Govt! It is a real catch 22 if you are intelligent, and a no brainer if you have been brought up under the Rajapakse way of doing things and thereby have become their slaves without our realizing it. Think about it!
 Comment 2:

To me above all the Rajapakses destroyed Sri Lanka’s environment in their 10 year rule, more than the British did in 150 year rule. That is not reversible whilst most other actions can be reversed through time. So I am a member of the public that votes on that basis, though I blame the Sirisena family too for their complicity in the environmental destruction.

I am afraid that due to public impatience, and elections in the offing, the Govt will take kneejerk decisions in bringing these crooks to book to please the public but in reality allow them to escape from the worst excesses using their legal rights and legal advice.

Some Countries have taken decades to find stolen money, and in the case of the Philipines, the Marcos billions took decades to find and repatriate. It is no different in the Rajapakse case as all their loot is recycled through their proxies like Dammika, Nimal, Ashok, Sumal and others, which make it very difficult to find. So their sons can say the Rs20M watch collection is NOT theirs but someone elses! It is typical that the sycho sycophants of the Rajapakse Regime are relishing this inability to find the loot! Saying none exists.

It is important the full extent of theft is disclosed to the public, and educate them that it is NOT easy to find it in a day, to make them understand reality.
Comment 3

Make no bones about the excesses of the Rajapakse Govt. It is clear as night follows day, and unbelievable that people cannot realize how he has completely destroyed Sri Lanka. You only have to look at his own Hambantotata, ruined beyond imagination, and let it be a lesson to all.

It is the word that Ranil a friend of Rajapakse’s for 40 years gave him upon leaving TT that bugs me, as he promised to protect his family!

If roles were reversed I doubt we could say the same, as one is a bandit, and the other whose word is his bond. Two different animals from two different worlds who happen to be friends. Perverse too because in politics Rajapakse destroyed Ranil’s credentials.

In this game of poker called politics, you have the nuts cases in the public, who think on their arses and in the end a minority of arses can determine the fate of a nation whether we hand it to crooks or crooks with a more altruistic intent!
The key point is the rule of law, which disappeared under the previous administration. Everyone must start off with the presumption of innocence, just because information is received a person is not automatically guilty. Even to take someone into custody it is necessary to be able to charge them. The fact that a car or a luxury house is uncovered is not enough, it will be necessary to first prove ownership and then go to a more difficult level of proving that these were bought from the proceeds of bribery. For that it would be necessary to investigate the various deals done and then trying to trace where money was paid. There is a short guide here, which the gist what it takes to prove bribery.

This calls for, at a minimum forensic accounting skills and specialised legal expertise, which I doubt are in plentiful supply here. Wisely, they are seeking assistance from the World Bank to investigate, but all this takes time.

To some extent I think the Government has been overwhelmed by the mountain of corruption that is being unearthed-it was so widespread and blatant that people are simply tipping off the Government. The assets are being seized but gathering proof that will stand up in court is the problem.

People also need to realise that this is not the only problem that the Government needs to tackle.

They need to tackle this while trying to run the normal administration, fix the crisis in international relations, try to sort out some of the mess in public finances, all the while looking over their backs-with MR and the gang playing spoilers, especially within the SLFP.

A daunting task, that I would not wish on my worst enemy. Lets hope they can stay the course.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Sri Lanka's new foreign policy

Indi had posted a good summary of the change in Sri Lanka's foreign policy. I wrote this as a comment, responding to Sach's questions. Sach was sceptical of the postponement of the OHCHR report and was worried about the security of the country. He hoped that under MR, Dayan Jayatilleka would run the foreign ministry.

The reason for the postponement is because there is now some commitment to improving human rights.

These rights did not exist in Sri Lanka. Bharatha Lakshman, Khuram Shaikh, Nihal Perera, the worker in Katunayake, the fishermen in Chilaw, the people of Rathupaswela :these were just some of the people who were murdered and whose families could get no justice. The questions raised by the UN are with the war and the Tamils, but the same issues affect all of us, even if you may not have realised it. The people listed above probably did not either-until they were affected.

Therefore addressing questions of human rights is a priority. MR campaigned for this in 1989 when he went to Geneva. The situation now is no different.

The LLRC was set up under MR but it was supposed to be just an eyewash to fool the international community, whcih is why very little was implemented. Now that there is a committment to improving the rule of law and human rights we have got some leeway.

Have you forgotten that Dayan was kicked out by MR a long time ago? Sajin Vaas was running the show. Dayan is now singing MR's praises because he wants to come back.

You are worried about security ? What about KP, Karuna, Pillayan and Douglas who were running amok under MR? Are you saying that every single refugee is a terrorist?

To get to the root of the issue - the way to solve problems permanently is to address the causes. People who are angry may take up arms - the solution is not to keep the boot at their throats but to look at their grievances.

Lobbying does happen but there doing the right things goes a long way. Sri Lanka did not pay lobbyists in the past, it was only due to the mismanagement that this was the only thing left to try-and it was not even working.