Dayasiri’s dilemma (2) | Daily News

Dayasiri’s dilemma (2)

SLFP renegade Dayasiri Jayasekera, now that he has been badly exposed, of not only having links with Arjun Aloysius of Perpetual Treasuries fame, but also of having financially benefitted from him, while always maintaining a holier than thou posture, even going to the extent of supporting a No Confidence Motion against Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe for allegedly helping in the Treasury Bond scam masterminded by the selfsame Arjun Aloysius, has, indeed, thrown up a conundrum in trying to explain himself.

Addressing the media on Monday, Jayasekera said had he known that the Rs. one million cash cheque he received for his election campaign was from Perpetual Treasuries, he would certainly not have accepted it. Questioned by a journalist whether he was not aware that when he accepted the cheque, PTL's and the Mahendran family's alleged involvement in the bond scam, Jayasekera said he never knew it was from PTL as there were 16 companies under Arjun Aloysius. In other words Jayasekera would have seen nothing wrong in accepting the cheque from any one of Aloysius's 16 companies other than Perpetual Treasuries.

It is not Perpetual Treasuries, but Aloysius, it was, who was the villain of the piece in the whole saga. How could Jayasekera know for certain that the other 15 companies were also not into dirty tricks? Also, by giving such an answer, Jayasekera was admitting that he, indeed, had been a recipient of Aloysius's largess from whatever the source or company the latter owned, never mind their scruples. Implicit also is the fact that Jayasekera was fully aware of the financial scandal that was gaining wide media coverage by this time although the MP claimed, the other day, that the matter was yet to enter the public domain when he accepted the cheque on July 13 and had he been aware of the fraud, at that point, he would not have touched it with a barge pole.

How could Jayasekera be unaware of the financial scandal that was breaking out exactly around this time? In any event, he has compromised himself on this score when he says he never knew it was Perpetual Treasuries who sent the cheque but another of Aloysius's 15 companies, betraying his knowledge of the scandal.

The MP also says that what he received was a cash cheque for Rs. one million and in hindsight he should not have accepted it. This was after he was exposed as having received money from Aloysius as per the testimony of his driver in the ongoing magisterial inquiry into the bond scam. Why could he have not come clean before this and admitted the transaction instead of doing so after being found out? Why could he not come out with the names of the other 118 MPs who he says benefited from Aloysius, and, was only now pointing the finger, to save his own skin? Now, by his own admission, having benefited from businessmen all his political life, Jayasekera has donned holy robes and is planning to bring a Private Member's Motion in parliament to control campaign funding of politicians.

The SLFPer says all politicians received money from businessmen for their election campaigns and he was no exception. He also says that Aloysius's father helped him in his campaign to be Chief Minister for Wayamba and at the time they (the Aloysiuses) were reputed business people. If that is the case, the bond scandal has dealt a mortal blow to the business reputation of the Aloysius family. That is after they were accidentally being found out. Hence, there is, indeed, a big question mark as to the overall reputation of this business family when Jayasekera availed himself of their funding during his election campaign for Chief Minister which he (Jayasekera) may or may not have been aware of.

Jayasekera also bemoans that he is a victim of a witch-hunt after he voted in favour of the No Confidence Motion to oust Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe. However, the magisterial inquiry into the bond scam was an ongoing matter that well preceded the events of April 23. Hence, this is a clear attempt on the part of the MP at obfuscation and is an insult to the judiciary. He obviously is the latest to join a long line of Joint Opposition MPs who are currently under probe for acts of corruption, crying foul.

Be that as it may, unwittingly though, MP Dayasiri Jayasekera has brought to the fore a subject that has drawn much comment from society at large – businessmen bankrolling the election campaigns of politicians. This practice has grown in proportion with the advent of the Proportional Representation. As is all too well known, the benefactors naturally demand a quid pro quo and these naturally get added to the costs borne by the general public. Added to this is the immunity enjoyed by these money bags to engage in illegal deeds.

Hence, the government should act positively to bring in legislation to control election funding and make the whole business transparent. This will pre-empt the type of scandal that is now in the glare of the public eye.


 

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