Greensill scandal exposes corruption | By Rizwan Ghani


Greensill scandal exposes corruption

A story of years of mega corruption and cronyism is unfolding in UK. It show PMs and top bureaucrats stealing mega public funds. The Greensill Capital firm settled late NHS government payments for a fee.

After leaving office, Cameron became its advisor and owning shares worth millions of pounds.

PM’s cabinet secretary who brought Greensill to the government had cabinet approval to work with the company while still in government service. He got £8M from the company.

Cameron’s is lying that no crime was committed because company collapsed. He networked with couple of ministers including Sunak and Greensill was given coronavirus large business interruption loan scheme (CLBILS) under which it could give government backed loans of up to £50m.

Hancock’s links to company has prompted the opposition to say that the government is infected with widespread cronyism.

But the same opposition failed to change lobbying laws and making public foreign property owners register.

In the same way, the Pakistan government has approved loan schemes and subsidies allowing private companies to dispense public funds.

The media has been exposing mega corruption scandals of cabinet ministers, special assistants, and advisors but there is no result, no regard for oath and CoI. The use of revolving door policy is being used to change faces without ending corruption.

The details of UK Greensill Scandal have exposed modus operandi of mega corruption in Pakistan.

Reportedly, 1000 public schools have been outsourced in which government is paying for per student between Rs 300 to Rs2000 instead of running the institution and hiring the staff. More than 25M school going students are out of school.

Similarly, private hospitals have been allowed to give patient care up to one million rupees, which is at the cost of public hospitals.

The health card is using public funds, which will permanently end public healthcare, jobs and medicines at grassroots.

Media has highlighted unprecedented corruption in healthcare sector in last two years.

Clearly, private healthcare lobbyists are behind the introduction of health card program, 800% increase in medicine prices and blocking of Covid vaccine manufacturing in Pakistan.

It should be scrapped and healthcare be returned under government control to avoid corona pandemic failures of West’s for-profit healthcare systems.

Johnson announced £92bn for NHS and more staff induction for clearing patient waiting list of 7M.

According to the TV interview of Pakistan’s former chief drug inspector, the Covid vaccine can be prepared in Pakistan within three months and it will cost around Rs 200. It is critical for healthcare and economy.

The corona pandemic strategy of China has paid off with 18% economic growth rate in 1st quarter of 2021.

The government should start manufacturing Covid vaccine locally due to more variants of coronavirus and forecasts of its continuation in 2022.

As per the UK Sky news report, Italy’s whistleblower WHO scientist Dr Zambon has blamed top WHO management for country’s pandemic deaths. The pandemic response protocols were not updated since 2006.

Italy’s PM was forced to resign on Covid response, 85,000 deaths and court case by dead victims’ families. In Pakistan, the pandemic fitness certificate was issued for release of funds ($14 million).

The special advisor was removed but no criminal investigation has been filed on national fitness.

Then private foundations, banks and individuals are distributing public funds. It is mega corruption.

The private banks are charging additional interest rate (1.5-2%) because cabinet gave public funds to private banks.

The private banks should have generated their own money to give house-building loans individually instead of using illegal Pakistan Banking Association to charge similar interest rates just like Pakistan Sugar Mills Association in full view of SECP and SBP. Government can still make house building transparent.

City development authorities can develop cheaper plots and end private land and builders’ mafias.

There should be one setup like House Building Finance Corporation of 80s to give loans as per the approved criteria of house building.

Funds should be allocated in the annual budgets with the approval of opposition for its continuation in next governments. The housing vision in current form is unlikely to affordable and corruption free.

In UK, Johnson first tried to ride out the scandal aside. It was only after opposition accused UK government of sleaze amid lobbying scandal that PM has reluctantly agreed to scrutiny.

The watchdog, which itself is a lobbying firm is calling for urgent reforms. It is a ploy to accelerate the process while skipping the accountability part.

It is Labour’s test to nail Johnson government on allegations of £292bn outsourcing corruption, £30bn test and trace scandal, and Health Secretary’s links to the firm.

In SNP tweet, it was announced that schoolchildren will be given bicycle loans.

Western economies have given $14T plus in corona pandemic stimulus packages to private businesses, which will be recovered through taxes.

Greensill scandal has shown how public funds are being plundered but when it comes to public using its own money, politicians force even the schoolchildren to take loan to own bicycles.

It is time judiciaries under democratic system of check and balance put these politicians behind bars.

—The writer is senior political analyst based in Islamabad.

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