Aluthgamage’s ‘Book’ | Daily News

Aluthgamage’s ‘Book’

“Set a thief to catch a thief “goes the well known saying. It is not clear if UPFA MP Mahindananda Aluthgamage was inspired by this famous line when he set about the business of authoring a book titled ‘Yahapalana Top-10 Kamba Horu’ -the last loosely translated meaning ‘big-time thieves’ which he presented to his leader Mahinda Rajapaksa.

In the book, Aluthgamage is said to have detailed instances of the swindles alleged to have been carried out by 10 ministers in the Yahapalanaya Government to the tune of Rs.1,500 million. Aluthgamage has stated his book contained the full details of the complaints of the swindles that he had made to the Police, Fraud Bureau and the FCID over two and half years. Since no action was taken he decided to go public with the revelations and put pen to paper.

To begin with, Aluthgamage should be praised for venturing out in this fashion to expose corrupt elements in the Government who rob the public, if that indeed is the case in this instance. Such public spirited politicians are indeed rare in this day and age. But as they say one should go before the Gods with clean hands. It is also true that credibility is of paramount importance when allegations of this nature are made. That is to say, the individual making such complaints should be above board and should stand up to scrutiny. Regrettably though, Aluthgamage is hardly the ideal candidate to fit into the role of crusader against bribery and corruption. This is considering the legion of corruption cases pending before the courts against his shenanigans whilst being a favoured minister under Rajapaksa.

Among the cases currently being heard in this respect relates to disproportionate assets of which one is in connection to the acquisition of luxury homes at elite addresses in Colombo. Given his humble origins, his protestation to the contrary notwithstanding, it is incumbent on the former minister who has assumed the role of a Knight in shining armour set to slay the hydra-headed monster of corruption, to clear his name of all the allegations of corruption against him and start his crusade with clean and untainted hands.

Aluthgamage says the corruption details of Yahapalanaya ministers, that he has named in his book, dates back two and half years. This includes the time when the SLFP/UPFA were joint partners with the UNP in the Yahapalanaya Cabinet. It is not clear if all the ministers in his list of the corrupt were only those of the UNP. Given that the Yahapalanaya Cabinet comprised both the UNP and the SLFP/UPFA, surely there must be some in the SLFP/UPFA component of Yahapalanaya in this celebrated list. One cannot forget that some of the best ministries such as Petroleum, Power and Energy, Transport and Civil Aviation- money spinners all - were held by the SLFP/UPFA.

If that were not to be, was Aluthgamage's fixation only with the UNPers in the Cabinet and the SLFP/UPFA component were conveniently ignored, now that his once estranged buddies are back in the fold? We say this since there was a big hiatus from October last year, when the power grab occurred, and now - a period of six months- enough time to amend the contents of the book and drop the SLFP/UPFA ministers whose names may have found their way into original text of the book, now that everything is hunky dory with both factions of the UPFA.

Besides, the Police, read CID, FCID and Fraud Bureau, mentioned by Aluthgamage is now under the purview of the President, and, had been so for six months (since October 26), time enough for reopening investigations into his (Aluthgamage’s) complaints on the corrupt ministers listed in his book, if no action was taken on his complaints before that. Surely, the President has time and again, during the last six months, after his estrangement with the UNP leader, has pledged to go after the big rogues and is getting about this business with a vengeance. Why pray, did Aluthgamage not seize on this ideal opportunity to expose the UNP miscreants? Or was his sole purpose of writing the book, political and not civic minded altruism?

Last, but not least. Why did he choose Mahinda Rajapaksa for doing the honours of presenting the first copy of his book? Didn't Rajapaksa claim during the last Presidential election campaign that he had Files of some of his Cabinet Ministers in his possession and that he would put them all out if they get too big for their shoes, after his General Secretary ditched him to join the other side? What has become of those Files? Was this not an admission that Rajapaksa had been shielding crooks in his Cabinet for ten long years and was in fact guilty of aiding and abetting the corrupt? Can such a personage fit the bill as the ideal choice for receiving the first copy of a book written by a minister under his own Government detailing the doings of corrupt ministers in the present Government? Food for thought, indeed.


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