Financial Times

Corporate governance, greed and arrogance


I must congratulate your newspaper’s efforts to highlight corporate governance issues. Without your continuing to draw the public's attention an unsuspecting investor will be put at risk and the financial consequences can injure many families.

The ongoing saga of the Golden Key scandal is a case in point. Watchdog units including the Central Bank and other authorities should not have waited for this tragedy to unfold, although those who were greedy to make quick money, which is never the way the world works, have rightly been punished.
At the end of the day, however, the corporate bosses will very likely get away. Let’s wait and see in the Golden Key matter as it unfolds.

An example where the corporate boss got away is the case of John Keells. The highest court in the country, the Supreme Court, found that the Secretary of Finance and the Chairman of JKH had colluded against the public interest.

In a landmark judgment the Supreme Count ordered the removal of the Secretary of Finance Dr. P.B. Jayasundera, the highest ranking civil servant. The President of the country had no option but to ask him to step down. But the Chairman of JKH Susantha Ratnayake, who was not only named but also fined by the court, continues to remain in his job. Some responsible members of the Chamber of Commerce had wanted Ratnayake to step down as Deputy Chairman of the Chamber as he had broken the ethics rules of the Chamber. After some six months of behind the scenes actions, the Chamber committee voted and Ratnayake escaped by the skin of his teeth when the Chairman of the Chamber put his casting vote in favour of Ratnayake although many voted for him to step down.

The decent and responsible thing for the dignity of the Chamber was for Ratnayake to accept moral defeat and leave his post....not only at the Chamber but at JKH as well. Instead he continues. And one newspaper report even highlighted that he has recently been rewarded with one of the most expensive cars.

This is how our top companies work. What is happening in the finance companies combined with the arrogance of the top bosses of the corporate sector needs to be exposed so that the public knows where to invest and where not to. I do hope you'll publish this letter as another step in exposing our careless, carefree and arrogant corporate bosses.

Suresh Prakash
Colombo 12.

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