How to raid the public purse in style

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I get the impression we are living in a new El Dorado. That is the new normal you have been hearing about. Hundreds of millions are being dished up to cronies andgreedy bootlickers whose spit the members of the government love to feel on their skin!

The new normal is in fact misery and job losses for many. Reduced salaries and benefits for others. And for the most vulnerable of our society, it is sleeping in the cold with babies and children after being thrown out of their modest make shift homes.

For others, however, the new normal is literally money falling from the sky. For the government, the new normal is enacting laws and openly violating them to favour of those who are near and dear to them and, of course, draw the maximum benefit in so doing.

“When everything else fails, the (Very) Independent Commission against Corruption (ICAC) comes to the rescue and the washing machine does its work.”

And no one is revolted by this situation! God damn it Lepep Admirable!

I must admit that even my own revolt has started subsiding and being replaced by a feeling of utter admiration. The raiding of our public purse is done in style. It is almost like the perfect crime. I am in awe!

First, the government enacted very repressive laws so that everyone is locked up at home, scared beyond their wits. While everyone was busy firefighting and dealing with their own problems, emergency procurement was used to dish up contracts to companies that have no expertise in the services contracted out to them. So, as we found out through documents tabled in parliament by the government itself, a construction company rehabilitates itself overnight and starts supplying medical equipment to the Ministry of Health. A small hotel owner who usually organises lavish birthday parties for Anerood Jugnauth starts a pharmaceutical company from his own hotel and the hospital stores open for him by sheer magic. And Hyperpharm, an obscure company we had never heard of, started raking in in millions as substandard medicines started being dumped in our hospitals at the expense of the health of the population.

The good friends who know the rules of the game but have no company, no problem. Companies were created and others converted overnight and contracts were immediately secured at the expense of existing companies with the right expertise, importing medicines and medical equipment from Europe.

No money to import medicines and medical equipment? No problem either if you are well connected. The State Trading Corporation, until now specialising in importing onions and potatoes, chips in to help. No tender exercise, no quality control, no nothing. And suddenly the lucky ones experience an avalanche of dozens and hundreds of millions, literally falling from the sky.

Some government pharmacists naturally started bringing up issues like the health of the patients, the inflated prices which sometimes reached 2,200 per cent above the price that was paid pre-Covid for European medicines approved by international organisations. They were simply pushed towards an early retirement or – better still – sacked. End of the story!

When confronted in parliament,the minister of health first lied and said the opposition was making the whole thing up. Then, when cornered, he came up with the now very famous line “I was not aware”.

When everything else fails, the (Very) Independent Commission against Corruption (ICAC) comes to the rescue and the washing machine does its work. In the meantime, the answer in parliament and to journalists is ready: “There is an investigation going on so I can’t comment on the matter”. You must have seen the shock on the faces of the opposition as the minister of finance suddenly announced that there was an investigation into how Zouberr Joomaye got state land to set up a clinic. No one had raised the issue before. So the government gave the land and they decided it was wrong enough to refer the matter to the ICAC! How can you beat that!

Against this happy backdrop, we can sit and watch our scarce public finances being shared between cronies and government members in style. Then the prime minister will look us straight in the eye and talk about his ‘principles’. I think what he means is his style in dividing the country into those who are allowed to enrich themselves and the rest.

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