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Sri Lanka: Corrupt politicians

| by Rufus Randeniya
Letter to the Editor

( January 15, 2015, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) Political corruption is a universal malady. Many in power soon lose fear of law and feel confident that they can make a buck surreptitiously and most of them have gone off the track mainly in their extended time of service. They are only concerned about right or left instead of right or wrong. Fed up people in Sri Lanka basically voted against Mahina Rajapaksa instead of voting for Maithripala Sirisena. Some say politicians and diapers should be changed often all for the same reason. So far some lamented that they wanted to vote for the best man but he was not a candidate but I feel this time they have found the one.

In USA, former Virginia Governor Robert McDonell was sentenced to prison for two years and two year probation on January 6, 2015. Among several charges, he was found guilty for taking a bribe from a company executive who sought to promote a dietary supplement. U.S.District Judge James Spencer said in a packed court room "it breaks my heart but a meaningful sentence must be imposed." McDonell is such a popular politician who according to some would have gone for the next presidential run. Prosecutors however argued for a 12 year prison term under federal sentencing guidelines. He had received a $ 177,000 as 'loans' and gifts from the company to promote one of their products. Gifts he accepted included a Rolex watch worth $ 6500, wedding presents including money for his daughters and golf outings for him and his wife. The businessman was granted immunity for revealing the deals.

Central Bureau of Investigation in India is now probing a complaint that Manmohan Singh's previous government allocated nation's coal deposits taking bribes resulting private firms paid less than they might have otherwise. It has been estimated the "windfall gain" to the allocatees was 10673 billion Indian rupees. This scam is known as "The Great Coal Loot." Indian media has dubbed it as "Coalgate." The Auditor General of India has accused the then Indian government that it had allocated coal blocks in an inefficient manner during the period of 2004 - 2009. The coal ministry of the Indian government at that time had been defended by Manmohan Singh. Owing to this reason, now he has been asked to give a statement. A special court has ordered to probe Singh before January 27, 2015.
In addition to the above scam, many other similar corruption charges have rocked the former premier's government. Accepting bribes from Augusta Westland (Italian) company to clear a contract to supply 12 AW 101 helicopters to India is one of them. This racket also is steaming hot in Modi's government circles. Thank God, thus far Modi is safe from 2014 onward.

Corrupt politicians will face the music soon in Sri Lanka. They may go home saying we lost the election. They may go to Singapore or resign but that does not deter or impede probing scheduled to commence soon. Tough guys with clean hands are waiting impatiently to kick start the game. The humiliated, ridiculed man in the jacket is now at the helm and this gentleman means business. Beware of him all scoundrels.

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