A timely move against corruption
mooted by Secretary to the President Lalith Weeratunga to use
the State intelligence services to detect waste, corruption and
irregularities at State institutions is indeed a sound one
especially in the light of the all out war declared by President
Mahinda Rajapaksa on these evils, now that the main war is over.
Being the top civil servant, Weeratunga perhaps may have
firsthand knowledge on the areas which need supervision in order
to achieve this noble objective of the President. There is no
denying that bribery and corruption has now become virtually
institutionalized in the State sector.
Hence it would take a massive effort to slay this hydra
headed monster that has lain seige to all branches and sections
of the State sector. That is why we see suggestions coming from
the centre of power no less to clear the decks and ensure waste
and corruption that had been taken for granted all these years
ceases to flourish in the Government departments.
It perhaps may well be a last resort to tackle monumental
corruption in the State sector with the evident failure of the
established arms such as the Bribery Commission to make any
The big wigs in the State institutions are today having it
their own way with no effective supervisory mechanism in place
to check their misdemeanours. Had this been the case the mega
VAT scam at the Inland Revenue Department and similar rip offs
could have been stopped before they got started and billions
saved for the country.
Today, certain big wigs in the top echelons of power in the
Government Departments and corporations have cultivated an
insularity to entertain the idea that nothing would catch up
with their misdeeds. Some of the recent decisions of the Supreme
Court have amply demonstrated this facet.
True, there have been whistle blowers within the set up who
had brought such instances to the notice of the authorities. But
more often than not these are due to their being left out of the
deal for the spoils rather than any altruistic reasons. The
Government cannot afford to depend on such sources for
information on the sleaze that goes on at State Departments.
There needs to be a more reliable body with no stake in the
affair. Hence the idea mooted by Weeratunga for the deployment
of a spy service is worth a try. A mole planted in every State
Department could be the best solution to elicit secret
information on the shady dealings and underhand manoeuvrings by
the big wigs in State Departments.
A body of such intelligence operatives working incognito
could also be used to make deep inroads into the workings in all
facets of a particular State Department to unearth the extent of
the corruption which today is endemic extending from the lowest
labourer to the highest ranking officer in the State sector.
Such an arrangement could also oversee the performance aspect
of Government departments to ensure optimum worker output. In
fact, such an intelligence body could go into the whole gamut of
ills affecting the public sector inefficiency.
Today State departments and corporations have became
synonymous with idleness, lethargy and inefficiency. One has
only walk into a government department any time of the day to
witness this fact. Empty desks ,employees huddled in groups in
idle chatter, rotating fans at untended spaces are some of the
common scenes that would greet one entering a government office.
Therefore, raising discipline in the work place is one of the
main pluses that could be achieved through such a project. The
presence of an intelligence service could also act as a
deterrent against petty thieving and graft that run deep in the
entire State sector fabric today.
It would also make the public service a more pleasant
experience for the general public who are at present being
pushed from pillar to post to get their needs attended to.
The Government should seriously consider trying out this
method to rein in waste and corruption in State bodies which
have been a way of life for so long. It would not only remove a
cancerous growth affecting the public service but also bring
relief to the general public not to mention the massive slice of
funds that will be saved by the State.