Bond scam a political project of UNP

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By 2016-11-04

The discussion on the so-called Bond scam suddenly opened the eyes of the ordinary people to the actual working of bourgeois democracy. Civil society people want MPs to reflect for a moment on the Oath of Office they took when entering Parliament as a member. They swore to uphold the Constitution of Sri Lanka on that occasion. They should be aware that by Article 3 of the Constitution, the sovereignty is vested in the people and is inalienable.

Sovereignty includes the powers of government, fundamental rights and the franchise. They are thus duty-bound as persons elected by the exercise of the people's franchise, to function as Members of Parliament and safeguard the inalienable sovereignty of the people; govern safeguarding the primary interests of the nation and its people; and safeguard the fundamental rights of the people. This is supplemented by the Social Contract they have entered into with the people, upon their election. However, MPs do not enter Parliament as independent individuals but as members of political parties and are bound by party ideology and discipline, to work loyally to implement the party programme.

In terms of the aforesaid Social Contract, civil society and oppressed groups appealed humbly and requested MPs to work according to their conscience, that is, according to one's moral sense of right and wrong viewed acting as a guide to one's behaviour, before taking a political position. In particular they expected MPs to review and debate independently and adopt or reject the Report of the Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE) on the purported Bond scams of 2015 and 2016. They raised the following questions:

"What is your role as a Member of Parliament? And what are your responsibilities and accountabilities under the Constitution and the Oath of Office? And what do you believe to be the public expectations of you, which you should diligently respect in the review, debate and adoption /rejection of the COPE report?
"What level of independence, personal intellectual capability and judgment should you bring in to the review and deliberations of the COPE Report(s) on the Bond scams?

"Are you bound by the directions of the party whip, the party and its leader's directions and desires, even if they conflict with your conscience? Or should you exercise your rights as a Member of Parliament bound by your conscience and the Social Contract with your voters?"

What happened at the COPE is now known to everybody. It became a political battle between the government and the Opposition. Those who wanted to bring a case against Arjuna Mahendran found the entire power of the UNP backed by friends and followers coming from various directions to face the allegation. Others, who were seeking to investigate corruption, could not believe that Ranil will intervene in this manner. Everybody accepts that Ranil is a clean man and his intervention exposed the limitations of the COPE. Indirectly, Ranil as a political leader took the responsibility of what has happened. Without the support of the PM, COPE becomes merely a collection of MPs of the Parliament and in this case tasked with investigating if a crime took place on the so-called Bond Scam, he was pleased. So what they reported after going through evidence presented is a compromised collective opinion.

As Parliament agreed to a common position it is up to the Attorney General who is supposed to know what can be done within the Law of Sri Lanka to determine under which Section of the Penal Code a prosecution can be made. With the mighty intervention of the UNP and PM, this is very unlikely; what Ranil revealed indirectly is that this Bond scam is a political project of the UNP, where the aim is still not clear. However, it is clear that there is no personal corruption issue here. Hence it goes beyond the limit of COPE to become a political problem. If the Opposition wants to pursue they can challenge with a No-confidence Motion.

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