Bond, Bond – the Treasury Bond tragedy will not easily go away.
We’ve heard so much about the dirty dealings involved in this highly manipulated Bond transaction, giving rise to major doubts about the entire financial management and related systems of government in the country. We will await the report of the Presidential Commission with great expectations of helping to clean up the financial stables, but, will that ever happen? Are the forces involved in this errant exercise in cheating the country in any mood to abandon their crooked politics and governance, in the larger interests of the people and the country? It seems most unlikely.
These are the people who have delayed local polls for so long, as they are scared to face the people, and have now resorted to more humbug to delay these polls even further. These are the forces of political corruption, who had no regrets at slapping the Supreme Court on delaying provincial council elections, that it made parliament adopt a wholly crooked piece of legislation that effectively made a mockery of respect for justice. There are clearly more bonds that tie down the people than the crooked Treasury Bonds.
Just look at that wealthy boast of Minister Kiriella, that he has Rs. 400 million in his bank. Is that the stuff of democratic boasting or the braggadocio of the corrupt rich? In making that boast he goes back to the past too, saying his and his wife’s grandparents each had over 30,000 acres of land, and they have been rich since the days of ancient kings. Was our ancient monarchical feudalism so abundant in gifts of land – and if so why? Were all these from ancient monarchies or the more recent British Colonial rule and its gifts to those who stooped to the British Crown? Was all this land not touched in any way by Land Reform? With so many millions in his bank account, will he not think of giving something to fund even one-sixteenth (or less) of a km of the proposed Central Expressway? Is that not the generosity that should come from such ancient abundance? Nonsense, this is the crooked talk of those who seek to impose more bonds on the people, which include bonds that can come from foreign loans for suspicious expressways!
The people are increasingly caught in the traps of crooked political bondage. Nepotism, which ‘Yahapalanaya’ promised to banish, has been spreading even stronger than in the past. From the chair of Sri Lanka Telecom going to the brother of the Yahapalana Chief, to the former Minister of Ports, Arjuna Ranatunga, having his politico/cricketer brother to head the Ports Authority, and having a soap factory proprietor and political cousin as our High Commissioner in the UK, nepotism, and family bandyism have emerged as strong features of so-called good governance. This is the bondage of a re-emergent “pavul balaya” or family power.
Don’t we know of all those millions spent, or rather hugely wasted, as advance payments for the building rented to house the Ministry of Agriculture. A building that was not occupied for continuous months, with new building facilities and furniture installed while the huge rent was being paid. That was “Karyala Nidhanaya” or Office Treasure that was the pleasure of the Secretary of the SLFP, and another crooked bondage of the people.
This story of bondage keeps growing as one looks at almost every supplementary estimate that is tabled, and often passed without even a debate in the House. It is the bondage of luxury vehicles, costing many millions for Ministers and Members of Parliament. An abundance of wasteful bondage; when the people who suffered from the Meethotamulla garbage disaster and the Salawa explosions are yet to be adequately compensated.
Look at the latest COPE reports and the huge corruption, fraud and misappropriation in 15 State bodies – losses that run into many billions. How can the people be freed of this bondage? We are aware of the current Treasury Bond rackets, but what of the Hedging Fund involving the Petroleum Corporation, where the loss incurred as of January 2016 was Rs. 10.2 billion, and then increased to Rs. 14.6 billion by December 2016. Where and when will this bondage end?
The Treasury Bond Scam has only unveiled a huge issue of bondage that is tying down the people of Sri Lanka, from the past and very much into the present, and with no signs of any improvement through clean government. This is bondage by the crooked and dirty in politics, with hardly any supportive action to clean the pits of fraud and corruption. The dirt is deep, the stench is high, and the people are kept in constant and dirty bondage.