Were the money to come out of the Sun Trust coffers, we would sit and sip our coffee relishing justice done. Sadly, the nearly Rs5.7 billion the Privy Council has just awarded to Betamax is coming out of our threadbare pockets at a time when the public purse is flat.
The Rs5.7 billion is the price we are paying for a political vendetta gone awry. It is the consequence of a group of politicians who thought they were invincible and above the laws of the land and even those of the universe. They trod roughshod on all the principles this country had prided itself on and destroyed everything on their way without a care in the world for the consequences. We all recall when some luminaries in this government and their henchmen were looking us in the eye and telling us that the Betamax contract had been illegally awarded, that commissions and bribes had changed hands and that they were going to prove this in court.
Politicians were arrested and jailed, Betamax’s CEO was detained and an objection to departure was slapped on him, an engineer, Hurrydeo Bolah, was hauled off to the police station and later to the hospital where he was chained to his bed. All this to come and tell us today “pa moi sa li sa”?
More importantly, while we were told that the contract was abusive and that we were going to save a lot of money by finding another freighter, we actually started paying more in total secrecy and opacity. It didn’t take long for us to find out that the government started dealing with traders instead of Mangalore refineries! Today, it is a double whammy. We paid more for our petrol, we paid more for the freight, and now we have to pay Rs5.7billion!
Unfortunately, this may not be the end of our woes. The vengeful trip this government has been on since 2015 may yet result in more damage and more money paid by us for the sick thirst for revenge those we elected suffer from. We have not heard the end of the BAI yet. Remember the Ponzi scheme? We have already paid billions of rupees trying to keep many of the BAI companies alive as they were entrusted to inept people who are milking the cow dry.
But this is not the end. As we speak, a man whose company was destroyed and who saw many of his assets sold on the cheap to cronies is sharpening his knives with his lawyers and is seeking “relief for those losses” in a case in Belgium under the Arbitration Rules of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law!
As it happens, the hearings are going on as we speak and a verdict is awaited anytime.
If that chicken comes home to roost and other similar ones follow, I wonder where we will find the money to pay! And I wonder where all those politicians and officials grinning and nodding on photos and videos when the destructions were being announced are going to hide.
Apart from the financial quagmire this government has driven us to, think about our reputation as a country and as a jurisdiction.