Sri Lanka Going forward: Identifying the Corrupt
The tuition master of corruption was JR Jayawardena who taught politicians to be corrupt and paved the way for others to be corrupt as well. He singlehandedly corrupted the entire system from politicians – corporates – judiciary – media – public service & even think tanks/NGOs. It is these entities today that are all equally responsible for the current crisis prevailing in Sri Lanka. However, much everyone likes to blame politicians alone, the unpalatable reality is that there is always the ‘other party’ equally responsible for corruptions. Targeting politicians and removing the corrupt politicians while the corrupt apparatus is untouched is only likely to create new politicians falling prey to corruptions as well. So we need a system overhaul. No corruption can take place without a taker and a giver. If we are going behind the takers – shouldn’t we also go behind the givers! The buck shouldn’t stop because no one wants to expose the givers!
Where do we begin? EDUCATION – BECOMING A LAW ABIDING CITIZEN
Everything starts at home & at school.
Therefore, a family must be uncorrupt to nurture uncorrupt children.
The education system must be uncorrupt so children learn to identify right from wrong.
The education system includes schools, universities & institutes (private & public)
What are the areas corruptions take place in the education system – these should be addressed immediately with punitive actions without bias.
From education, the next area is WORK
People enter Public Service, Private Sector or decide to be Self-Employed
Every area prone to corruption at any level must be addressed with the current corruptions that take place & devise ways and means to address them.
This is where a complete and thorough due diligence is required, for this is the area where corruptions begin. This is also the area where a major leak in abusing powers also take place.
However much people may find fault with Parliament – the corruptions of 225 or the corruptions of MPs in the Provincial Councils will come nowhere near the collective corruptions by a Public Sector that is 1.4million (even if half are corrupt – 700,000) or private sector which is 3.4m (if half of this are corrupt 1.7m) There are over 300,000 registered companies in Sri Lanka, imagine if half of the top management of this are corrupt.
Therefore, the entire corruption framework needs to be looked at by a team of people who are uncorrupt and who have a proven track record of putting country first.
Unfortunately, to this equation the thinktanks/NGOs cannot be considered in particular those that are employed by foreign parties and have their loyalties to the foreign funding body. These individuals though presenting themselves as ‘unbiased’ are actually loyal to only their paymaster and will be biased to them & not the country.
For starters – sweeping away a corrupt Parliament & Provincial Council is to
- Completely change the Electoral System of Voting Politicians – removing all perks & privileges unfairly added since 1978, minimum commission allowed, proper tender/procurement process for all investments (local or foreign). A new electoral system with criteria for entry will filter the bad from entering when they know that Parliament is not a place to make money but to serve the people. This is key to starting a system change as only those who want to serve will be inclined to enter politics. All wrong doers should be legally taken action against & any state funds siphoned should be recovered.
- Audit of Public Sector – look at every area that Public Service is currently corrupt, sack all who have been indulging in large scale corruptions, even if they are top secretaries and take legal action against them. All siphoned state wealth must be recovered even if it means selling whatever property/lands they have purchased from their corruptions.
Secretaries & Government Servants – the Police – Armed Forces
- Audit Private Sector – most often the givers of any corruption are the top brass in the private sector (local and foreign) This also includes the middle man who acts as broker for all deals. Imagine a 3.4million public sector and over 300,000 companies – what if half of these were the “givers” of the bribes to politicians to win contracts for themselves & their companies to profit? Are they not equally guilty as the taking politicians? Why is it that the moment anyone questions the givers or when the identities of the givers are about to be exposed the entire investigation stops! Isn’t this why corruptions continue & investigations lead nowhere?
Equally important is to look at the political appointments to the Public Service over and above the exam based entry that was practiced earlier and is still in existence today. This is also relevant to the politically motivated posts to the foreign ministry and other important positions where Sri Lanka’s image is impacted by sending incompetent and inefficient people to these positions.
Blue Chip Companies – Corporates – Media – Trade Unions – Associations/Organizations
- Audit Judges/Lawyers – no one can stop or prevent or get justice for corruptions if the main pillar that determine right and wrong is equally guilty. How many judges and lawyers have been accused of malpractice and abusing their office? How can they determine the guilty if they are part of the problem? If we have been shocked at determinations of the Court, we can ascertain the reason why and something needs to be done about this. The Judiciary is hiding behind the ‘contempt of court’ banner but their corruptions cannot go without being addressed.
Finding a team of people loyal to the country and able to outline a framework that deals with corruptions (as is) and designs a system to create an uncorrupt society poses a challenge. But it is one that is needed.
We all have a fair idea of where the corruptions take place, the types of corruptions, the levels of corruptions and even who commit the corruptions but what we are not aware of are the invisible “givers” who often evade getting caught but who are responsible for corrupting the system. The corrupt needs to be named & shamed.
Cleaning the Parliament & preventing corrupt entering, educating all citizens on being law abiding citizens – checks & balances to curb corruptions by both Givers & Takers— Sri Lanka will have a glimmer of hope to create an uncorrupt society.
Shenali D Waduge