Balendra for whistle blowing on unethical, unlawful business deals

Deshamanya Ken Balendra, former Chairman of Sri Lankan conglomerate John Keells Holdings PLC, who was also one time Chairman of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce, says he is in favour of a whistle-blowing culture in the country’s corporate sector.

"Yes! I am personally in favour of whistle blowing," Balendra said in response to a question raised by the The Island at a press conference last evening whether whistle-blowing ought to be encouraged in corporate Sri Lanka.

‘Whistle-blowing’ is a term used for notifying the authorities, regulators—and sometimes the public through the press—of illegal and unethical business practices.

The President of the Sri Lanka Institute of Directors (SLID), Mahen Dayananda, also a former Chairman of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce, said whistle-blowing should be encouraged in Sri Lanka’s corporate sector.

The SLID is organising a series of training sessions for directors to inculcate the values of good governance and ethical business, as the SLID says, in support of the economic wellbeing of Sri Lanka.

"This is the initiative we (SLID) are taking to promote good governance; it is a very long journey but SLID is committed to assuming the responsibility and leadership," Dayananda said.

Recent Supreme Court judgments on privatisation deals revealed that the directors of corporate entities, auditors and public officials had been responsible for unlawful and unethical business transactions involving lucrative public enterprises and assets.

President’s Counsel K. Kanag-Isvaran said some people wondered if the country had become a failed state as far as the rule of law was concerned.

"Some say Sri Lanka is a failed state, I do not know but unfortunately it has come to that stage," he told seminar and forum on whistle-blowing earlier this year.

Kanag-Isvaran said there should be laws enacted to protect whistle-blowers in the public and private sectors as the law could not at this stage protect those who expose corrupt practices of powerful politicians and businessmen.

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