102-year jail sentence for tax official

Tuesday, 20 May 2014 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

The recent judgment fining a top tax official Rs. 12 billion and giving a jail sentence of 100 years should be a wakeup call for all public servants to manage their affairs according to the book. We have had many cases where when the boss changed, all the transactions conducted get scrutinised at the highest levels and officials end up on the mat for doing what the boss wanted. In religion we learn that nothing is permanent and what goes up must come down. If our public servants can work for the welfare of the public instead of their political bosses, they could save themselves from a lot of grief. The recent scandal in the EPF where the fund managers keep issuing statements saying what a good job they are doing has no standing if it cannot stand scrutiny. If the EPF is losing billions now to make money for the fund in five years, well and good. What is the excuse they can give if they have invested in unquoted stocks in 2011 that today have no value or the company is shut down? Is the fund allowed to speculate with workers’ money to invest in start-ups? What is the basis they use when negotiating price for large stakes with a seller? Is it only the price on the last day?  Can the EPF give a statement giving the basis for the investment in the shares that the Auditor General says there is an unrealised loss of Rs. 12 billion as at 31 December 2011? What are these shares? To get a balanced picture the EPF should give the investments made in 2011 that have an unrealised profit as at 31 December 2011.  Lots of questions still remain unanswered and it is never going to go away because it affects the livelihoods of millions of workers. I wish to thank the FT for the continuous effort to educate the public. R. Fernando