Colombo (News1st) – Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe made a thought-provoking statement in Kegalle on Sunday (Aug 19th).
He stated that the current government is one that gets the job done instead of just speaking about it or making spectacles out of the work that they accomplish. He claimed that there is little need to talk of what they had done because the work stands for itself.
The Prime Minister also took the time to list out the accomplishments of the current administration. He listed Gamperaliya. Grama shakti, Enterprise Sri Lanka and the proposed setting up of investments zones as the Government’s accomplishments. Ranil Wickremesinghe went onto note that within the past 3 years they have managed to pass the 19th amendment to the constitution, make the President more accountable to Parliament, limit the term of a presidency to 5 years, take away the power of the President to dissolve Parliament and ensured the right to information.
Is the Prime Minister speaking the truth?
The general public understands that the cat is now out of the bag.
When the President came into power on the 8th of January 2015, one of the key promises he gave was that the powers of the executive president, that can be curtailed without public mandate, will be curtailed. Fulfilling the promise made, a considerable amount of his powers were curtailed through the 19th amendment to the constitution.
However, by utilizing individuals like Dr. Jayampathy Wickremaratne and M.A. Sumathiran, what did the Prime Minister eventually accomplish? According to the trumpeting of the Prime Minister, certain powers that go beyond the executive presidency have now been centred around him.
A situation has arisen where the President is unable to remove the Prime Minister when necessary and is also unable to take decisions regarding Ministers as per his prerogative. Manipulating a true need to curtail executive powers, another individual is now – “fishing in muddy waters” – as we say in the vernacular.
On how many occasions have we flagged this issue?
Following the Prime Minister’s statement, the people can now comprehend what has happened. The President who came into power on the 8th of January with the mandate of the people, in goodwill, appointed the leader of the party who had won 46 seats in Parliament as the Prime Minister of the nation.
Upon receiving power, the PM and his group deviously attempted to grab power through the 19th amendment to the constitution and also attempted to curtail the media that was a major barrier to corruption and the misappropriation of public funds.
The attempts to suppress the media were halted as we sought the support of the judiciary.
It is now clear as to how the so-called legal pundits who operate as advisors have been deceived, and how the 19th amendment was used to dubiously grab power.
They did not stop with the executive presidency. Weeks after coming into power, the group broke into the apex financial institution of our country- the central bank and helped themselves to billions of public money. Do you recall how the state banks were placed in the hands of close confidants of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe?
Do you remember how the Central Bank, which thus far had fallen under the purview of the Ministry of Finance, was taken under the ministry of National Policies and Economic Affairs? Having taken over the Central Bank, his close friend Arjuna Mahendran was brought in from Singapore to head the institution. This was simply laying the groundwork for the bond scam of the 27th of February 2015.
A few weeks after the Central Bank was broken into the President instructed his secretary to launch an investigation into the incident. Before the president’s secretary could act, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe appointed three lawyers affiliated to his party to probe into the incident and claimed that there was no fraud. Meanwhile, the Prime Minister protected the former governor of the central bank in Parliament not once or twice but on many occasions.
The Committee on Public Enterprises, headed by D.E.W Gunasekara at the time investigated the central bank bond scam and few days before the report was to be released, Parliament was dissolved. As correctly noted by the Prime Minister himself, the President could no longer dissolve parliament as per his prerogative. As such, it can be concluded that the dissolution was sought by the Prime Minister.
In spite of the attempt to cover-up the bond scam by dissolving parliament, the COPE committee of the new parliament also took up the issue. Chaired by MP Sunil Handunetti, COPE commenced an investigation into the Central Bank bond scam whilst UNP MP M. Velukumar was removed from COPE and Sujeewa Senasinghe was appointed in his stead.
Sujeewa Senasinghe was an individual who authored a book about the bond scam claiming that there was no fraud. However, having swallowed a lie from the Party Leader, it appears that Senasinghe too has now come to comprehend the truth. Eventually, being unable to influence the contents of the final report, UNP Members of COPE added footnotes in an attempt to dilute the findings of the COPE report on the bond scam. It is no secret that during the tenure of COPE its members, Sujeewa Senasinghe, Ajith Perera, Harshana Rajakaruna and Hector Appuhamy received hundreds of phone calls from Arjun Aloysius.
The entire nation is questioning now whether these individuals who prevented the release of the D.E.W Gunasekara report and then acted to dilute the Handunnetti report, did so in order to save those involved in the fraud from prison time. When the whole nation was burdened by the financial impact of the first bond scam, a second scam was perpetrated on the 29th and 31st of March 2016.
Having suffered from continued lethargy, fresh impetus was given to the investigation of the bond scam when the President intervened to appoint a Commission of Inquiry. With the appointment of the Commission and the President’s refusal to extend Mahendran’s term as Governor, the Prime Minister headed to the Central Bank and confirmed that he would protect his friend.
When talented cross-examiners in the calibre of Dappula De Livera and Yasantha Kodagoda were grilling witnesses to unearth the truth, the Attorney General came into question the Prime Minister when he arrived at the bond commission. Not only was the examiner changed, the Prime Minister has also presented the questions in advance. Even the subsequent questioning of Ministers Kabir Hashim and Malik Samarawickrema at the Commission were muted and sombre.
Certain pages of the bond commission report are not in the public domain as the former president’s secretary Austin Fernando decided to archive those pages. The debate on the bond scam has not been taken up in parliament as yet, as TNA MP and close associate of the Prime Minister, M. A Sumanthiran is seeking a Tamil translation of the Bond Commission report.
While the cover up of the first bond scam continues, an investigation of the second scam seems to have been prevented successfully.
What has been confirmed now?
The manipulation of the 19th amendment has been revealed by none other than the Prime Minister himself.
The cat has been let out of the bag on more than one occasion. Does this not show that there is a difference between what the Prime Minister says to the people and the truth?
For the attention of the people.