There is public anger over the way the authorities have handled rumbustious politician Mervyn Silva who is adopting a virtual ‘catch-me-if-you-can’ attitude with law enforcement authorities. Finally the law caught up with him this week.
The same ‘catch-me-if-you-can’ attitude must apply to P.B. Jayasundera, Susantha Ratnayake and JKH given their ‘eerie silence’ over the LMSL judgement where all were faulted and slammed for an irregular privatisation deal.
The flow of letters that we are receiving with comments that we have been ‘courageous’ and have the ‘guts’ to expose corporate fraud and sleeze tells the story of how powerful public officials and corporate bosses are capable of even circumventing the ‘law’.
In the ‘good’ books of governance, decent and ethical business, transparency, etc the public and private sectors keep pushing as part of their duty to the public and social responsibility, PBJ and Ratnayake should resign – not wait to be asked! In fact the entire JKH board should step down in ‘embarassment’or be reconstituted. There are enough and more cases globally of how corrupt officials and corporate bosses have stepped down or being forced to step down in the glare of media publicity. Some on their own volition have quit. But what’s happening in Sri Lanka? The disgraced officials behave like our politicians – ride the storm until the dust settles till the media moves onto another story and the drama is forgotten.
We have also heard how some haughty officials in the company are criticising this newspaper for lambasting JKH. They are espousing the cause of ‘we have paid the fine. So what more?’
In fact some junior company executives, concerned about ethics, are appalled. “If we were found involved in some fradulent activity in JKH – even if small – we would have got dismissed, sacked .. full stop,” one young executive said.
PBJ, Ratnayake and JKH directors who have been slammed by the court for a fraudulent transaction are still living it up. The Treasury Secretary was part of the Presidential delegation for the SAARC summit and as an added bonus went to Beijing to watch the Olympic Games. The JKH bigwigs continue their partying as part of the corporate culture. In the name of decent business practices and ethics shouldn’t they step down or even hide their heads in shame?
More and more we are being told that the Supreme Court judgement is just the tip of the iceberg of the corruption that goes on in some of the most respected companies in Sri Lanka, forget the smaller ones. Stones are thrown at the likes of Dhammika Perera and other ‘new’ entrepreneurs who made it rich and fast in the corporate ladder but the ‘respected’ corporate bosses are no better, actually even worst for they hide under a veneer of respectability and resort to corrupt deals and even cook up accounts. Read our pages today and you know what I mean.
The court has delivered its verdict and copies of the judgement have been sent to the IGP, DIG, Bribery Commission Chief, Attorney General and the Securities and Exchange Commission among others for these respondents to take necessary action on the basis of the judgement. What are these agencies and their heads doing? In fact LMSL petitioner Vasudeva Nanayakkara has sent letters to all these respondents citing the need for action and drawing attention to the Offences Against Public Property Act No.12 of 1982 which include mischief to public property, theft of public property, robbery of public property, misappropriation or criminal breach of trust of public property, cheating, forgery or falsification in relation to public property and attempting to commit any one of the above offences.
What’s the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce doing when its deputy vice chairman, elected ironically on the evening of the ‘day of judgement’ (which was issued in the morning), has been found guilty by the highest court of the land of involvement in a fraudulent deal?
By the way, where are all those local experts that emerged overnight – some years back - and sang the praises of the judicial system in the US over the Enron scam. There were public forums where these speakers were vocal and spoke out against corporate greed and sleeze and said the Enron example was a good lesson to our corporates. “Clear up your act,” they chorused. Where are they now? Why are they silent when the biggest conglomerate in Sri Lanka has been found and ‘established’ guilty of a corrupt deal together with the most powerful public official in the land?.