Connect with us

Opinion

Allegations against Dr. Shafi : A request

Published

on

Dr. Shafi Shahabdeen charged for performing illegal sterilisation on around 4000 women is in the limelight once again because of the letter the Health Ministry Secretary wrote to the Director of Kurunagela Teaching Hospital regarding him. All print and electronic media, including social media, read the letter and reported that Dr. Shafi was reinstated with salary arrears. It means he was cleared of all charges. The news story received much praise and criticism specially on social media. Later Public Service Commission cleared the air saying that Dr. Shafi was not reinstated but was to receive his salary arrears for the period of his compulsory leave. The heading of the letter says “Reinstatement and Payment of Salary Arrears during the Period of Compulsory Leave – Dr. Shafi Sihabdeen” but nothing is said about ‘reinstatement’ in the body of the letter. Here we cannot fault the media because the heading itself says ‘reinstatement’ but the body does not say anything about it but the payment of salary arrears.  Most media have understood it as reinstatement with salary arrears and this understanding is reasonable, too. In my view, the reason for the confusion is this. It seems Dr. Shafi has made an appeal to the PSC under the heading “Reinstatement with Salary Arrears” and in the follow up  references the same heading has been used and this is the practice, too, in some offices. According to chapter XII of the Establishments Code, an officer on compulsory leave should be paid his salary. It reads as follow:20:1 “where on medical other special grounds it is considered that it is not in the public interest that an officer should continue to exercise the functions of his office, the Appointing Authority personally may place the officer on compulsory leave.”20:2 The leave will first be set off against any a available leave, and any leave thereafter will be on full pay.In the letter sent to the Director of Kurunagela Teaching Hospital, the Secretary of Health Ministry draws his attention to the Establishments Code and directs him to take action to pay the salary arrears of Dr. Shafi during his period of compulsory leave, and he has also sought explanation from the Director as to why Dr. Shafi  has not been paid so far.

To reinstate him, the Court has to clear him of all the allegations levelled against him. Though he was initially charged for performing illegal sterilisation on women by twisting or clamping their fallopian tube, two more allegations – illegal amassing of wealth and link with terrorist organisation were added after his arrest.  The CID told Kurunagela Magistrate’s Court in June 2019 that in the investigations carried out by them thus far there was no evidence to prove the allegations against Dr. Shafi.

Meanwhile Ven. Athuraliya Ratna Thera in a press conference has severely criticised the Magistrate Court, CID and the Health Ministry Secretary for this recent development. Ven. Muruththettuwe Ananada Thera, Chancellor of Colombo University, too, has warned that the reinstatement of Dr. Shafi will lead to racial disharmony. Athuraliya Ratna Thera said he didn’t know anything about vanda kottu (infertility kottu) but he was serious about vantha sethkam (infertility surgery) and he described it as a genocide. Meanwhile former President Maithiripala Sirisena had pointed the finger at a leading politician of the area where the vanda kottu incident happened as the instigator of the incident.  On social media, allegations are piling up against another politician for vanda brasserie (infertility brasserie) and vanda junki (infertility underpants) incidents.

In my view, the hard eye witness evidence available in Dr. Shafi case is the medical staff who worked along with him when he was performing these alleged illegal surgeries.  According to CID Director Shani Abeyasekera, CID  probed 74 nurses, 41 doctors and seven specialists who had worked along with Dr. Shafi,  but none of them gave any clue that he had perfomed these alleged illegal surgeries.  Hard medical evidence available in this case is the HSG test which is relatively safe and only five minutes long. None of the mothers affected is coming forward for this test.

Therefore, my earnest request to Ven. Athuraliya Ratna Thera, Ven. Muruththettuwe Ananada Thera and others who think justice is not being done to persuade at least four mothers out of 4000 mothers affected in Dr. Shafi case to come forward for most reliable HSG test without threatening racial disharmony.

M. A. Kaleel

Kalmunai – 05



Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Opinion

Priority need to focus on Controlling Serious Economic Crimes

Published

on

Open letter to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa

The Ministry of Defence has advertised five vacancies for the “Recruitment as Reserve Assistant Superintendents of Police to the Ministry of Defence, affiliated to the Sri Lanka Police, skilled professionals to become proud members of the Ministry of Defence, dedicated to the sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity of Sri Lanka as well as to public safety and to play a superior role for the nation. These recruits will function as Cyber and Forensic Analyst, Geo-Political and Strategic Analyst, Counter Terrorism and Violent Extremism Analyst, Economic Analyst and Statistical Analyst (the last two covering security perspectives regarding national security)”. Any justified decision to strengthen the knowledge and skills based professional capability of existing human resource of the state is a welcome move, so long as the recruits have in addition to the specified qualifications, requisite commitments to best practice professional standards, ethics, correct attitudes and values.

The caring civil society fervently hopes, in accord with your stated commitments in the manifesto and the several public pronouncements that followed your election as the President, that you, with the support of your Cabinet colleagues and the top officials of the executive, will similarly focus on the essential priority need to focus on controlling serious economic crimes, which can easily debilitate the financial integrity, fiscal and monetary stability and solvency of Sri Lanka; and if allowed unabated will destabilise the economy and prevent the realisation of the goals of splendour and prosperity.

The optimum operational environment to assure financial integrity minimizing serious economic crimes is by having effective laws, regulations, policies, systems, procedures, practices and controls, with efficient and effective independent oversight mechanisms, enforcements, investigations and prosecutions, followed by independent justice systems with penal sanctions and recovery of proceeds of crime. The critical drivers of such a system are independence, capability and professionalism of supporting human resources in the entire chain. It is however quite evident from many case studies that the systems controlling financial integrity of Sri Lanka fails to meet required standards of effectiveness, due mainly to the lack of competent and committed professionals in the chain engaged in independent oversight mechanisms, enforcements, investigations and prosecutions. Due to this incapacity the independent oversight control, enforcement, investigation, prosecution and punishment of offenders of money laundering, transfer pricing, securities offenses, bribery, corruption, financial fraud, organised crimes, drug trafficking, smuggling, and avoidance of taxes/ excise and customs duties are ineffective; and more importantly the recovery of proceeds of these crimes eventually fail and are thus unable to restore the state revenues leaked and state assets stolen or defrauded.

Civil society looks to you as the President, to take early action to strengthen the structures, systems, laws and regulations along with the capacity of the resource persons engaged in the independent oversight control and enforcement of mechanisms; and thereby minimise serious economic crimes system wide and facilitate successful recovery of proceeds of crime. In the above context it is suggested that you pursue the undernoted strategic action steps under your direct leadership supervision:

* Seek Cabinet approval to set up an Enforcement Directorate similar to that of India under the supervision of the Inspector General of Police, reporting to an Independent Public Commission made up of three members, comprising of a high integrity competent retired Appellate Court Judge, a retired Senior Officer of the Auditor General’s Department and a retired Senior Officer of the Central Bank.

* Enforcement Directorate to be entrusted with the mission of minimizing the identified serious economic crimes systems wide; enhancing oversight mechanism and controls system wide and where suspected that any such crimes having taken place professionally investigating and prosecuting, optimizing recovery of proceeds of crime

* Seek technical support in setting up the Enforcement Directorate from the Financial Integrity Unit of the World Bank and its affiliates Financial Action Task Force, UN Office on Drugs and Crime and the Stolen Asset Recovery Initiative with extended human resource training and development support from bi lateral supporting countries and other specialized agencies

* Recruit competent and highly professional staff for the Directorate, similar to the staff recruited to the Defence Ministry; and support them with requisite resources, knowledge, skills, systems, data bases, best practices and technical and investigation assistance linkages

* Enact essential legal and regulatory reforms, commencing with the early enactment of the Proceeds of Crime Act draft sent to the previous regime for cabinet endorsement

* Enhance the capability of the prosecutors of the Directorate to successfully prosecute serious economic crimes and judges to effectively support the judicial processes connected therewith

* Make it a compulsory requirement of all state remunerated persons to adopt the ethical standard to report to the Directorate any known or suspected non compliances with laws and regulations

Trust you and your advisory team will give due consideration to this submission

Chandra Jayaratne

Continue Reading

Opinion

S.Thomas’ Class of 62 and O/L 70 Group celebrates 60 years Nexus

Published

on

By Rohan Mathes

Once again the old boys of the Class of 62 and O/L 70 Group fraternity of S. Thomas’ College Mount Lavinia gathered last Saturday (22nd), under one banner to celebrate their 60 th anniversary of their association and loyalties with their prestigious Alma Mater, long way down from 1962, whence they were admitted to the school by the sea.

This rendezvous was of paramount importance to the membership near and far, inclusive of those domiciled overseas, who had turned up in their numbers to enjoy the long-awaited fellowship, with their comrades, despite the prevailing Covid pandemic restrictions. Nevertheless, those who could not make it, had been amply served by the provision of a Zoom link. Kudos to the organisers who had painstakingly and meticulously planned all the nitty-gritties of this epoch-making celebrations, however with less pomp and pageantry, compared to their fiftieth anniversary celebrations in 2012.

Following the service at the Chapel of the Transfiguration, the Thomians spend the day within the precincts of this hallowed institution which had undoubtedly imparted a unique, state-of the-art and wholesome education to them. They took this rather rare opportunity to joyfully tour around their old school, of course reminiscing their nostalgic memories of their childhood. They were simply overjoyed by viewing the latest developments and modifications done by the school authorities, utilising the charitable donations and contributions made by the old boys, parents and well-wishers of the school, in numerous ways, throughout the years gone by.

At this event, the Group also assisted the college in their project to install “Smart Boards to every class room”, by handing over a cheque to the Sub Warden Asanka Perera, to the value of Rs.400,000, collected from its membership. Esto Perpetua!

Continue Reading

Opinion

Why cry for Djokovic – a reply

Published

on

I strongly object to the remark Dr Upul Wijayawardhana (Dr U W) made in the first paragraph of his Opinion, in The Island of Saturday 22 January, titled  ’Why Cry for Djokovic?’ critiquing Cassandra in her Friday 21 Cassandra Cry.

Dr U W writes: “Cassandra uses her column liberally to criticise our politicians for giving special treatment to their kith and kin.” I, Cassandra, have two reasons to object to this damning statement. I have never criticised politicians for “giving special treatment to their kith and kin”. I have criticised politicians on various other issues such as what they have done, but not on this particular accusation. Hence Dr UW deliberately, or carried away by his writing eloquence, placed me in danger of reprisal. Such is not done.

Please read me in Cassandra Cry on Friday January 28, where this matter, and some others  the doctor has written regards Cassandra will be refuted,

CASSANDRA

Continue Reading

Trending