Cyprus Editorial: And the experimentation continues

17 May, 2014 | Posted By: Financial Mirror

It’s nice to talk about management theories and hypothetical standards, but when it comes to the practical aspect of good corporate governance we have all failed – politicians, citizens, businesspeople and civil society, in other words all decision makers and stakeholders.
The damning report by the House Ethics Committee found enormous gaps in the oversight and internal audits of both major banks, where entire teams of legal eagles, together with compliance and risk officers were employed, with flashy diplomas and certificates overflowing on their walls. But this begs the question, how could the crooked deals have gotten through the net without anyone knowing?
Then we had the smaller case of the AWOL bitcoin trader at Neo & Bee who allegedly absconded with his virtual currency, leaving several investors duped. That the internal controllers had issued warnings, is no longer convincing.
The same is true of high-ranking civil servants embroiled in a plethora of cases – from the Cyta pension fund scandal to the more serious cases of the ill-fated blast at Mari where soldiers and firemen lost their lives.
The Attorney General said this week that his team is looking into these and several other cases, in order to lay the ground to prosecute people and those in charge who have yet to take any responsibility.
But public opinion has made up its mind – no matter who you prosecute, no one will go to jail, and those in charge of bringing the nation to its knees and the state of the economy to the brink of collapse will once again get way scot free. So, don’t bother because scandals can only be prevented if we implement the law on whistleblowers and if police and other authorities use this tool properly.
Were all those expensive courses and training workshops that managers and senior officers in the private and public sectors attended worth while? In theory, yes, because at least now we have the manuals that will tell us how not to repeat the mistakes of the past. On the other hand, just because the Troika tells us one thing as regards procedures, does not mean that we have to stick to the rules and go by the book.
Implementation of certain rules is a matter of interpretation and for once we should all have the nation’s interest in mind, not the pockets of corrupt politicians, civil servants and managers.
When the Troika technocrats leave this week, we will once again pat ourselves on the back and say “job well done” instead of looking to find out the why’s and how’s of moving forward, because everything will go back to where it was. And as we are in the final stage of the EP election silly season, accusations and bombastic statements of “holier than thou” will continue to rule the day. Who knows, perhaps we can get back to serious work after May 25.