One of the major headlines in the local media these days concerns the ‘Bookie affair’. To recap, some 7 CD-ROMs were seized at bookmaker Joomun’s place. These are being progressively ‘decoded’ and apparently, important public figures’ names appear on these lists of illegal bets (illegal as they are not declared to the Income Tax and they are done ‘a credit’).
Yesterday (Tuesday 11th July), at National Assembly, the Opposition Leader, Nando Bodha, asked the acting PM, Vasant Bunwaree whether the name of two ministers of the present govt were on these lists and he mentioned the names of the ministers. Of course, Bunwaree denied the info and there was an uproar in the majority. That’s normal…
But what’s not that normal (any lawyers or people from a legal background who can help out?) is that the a major part of the media are deliberately avoiding mentioning the names of the ministers. Most probably because the PM, Navin Ramgoolam, made a loud declaration condemning the Opposition Leader’s stance and warning people who might be tempted to make similar allegations. Yet, during the week-end, the same PM had threatened people who make vague allegations without having the courage to say the names. That’s normal again for him…
This is what Le Mauricien published yesterday:
“Bodha : As a matter of integrity and transparency et dans le souci déclaré du gouvernement de ne pas avoir recours à un Cover Up, peut-il confirmer que les noms des deux ministres … (à ce stade le leader de l’opposition cite les noms de deux ministres, dont l’un est présent dans l’hémicycle et l’autre est absent) figurent sur cette liste ?”
And Radio Plus and Radio One also adopted the same strategy of not citing the names. However, it was easy to figure out that one of the ministers is Asraf Dulull as he gave a press conference to deny Bodha’s accusations and extracts of the conference were aired by the radio stations.
Could it be that our journalists are afraid of even quoting what was publicly uttered by a member of Parliament at National Assembly (the proceedings of which are normally accessible to the public via its website on the govt portal, though updating is delayed by a few weeks)?
Only L’express published the names in today’s paper:
“C’est le moment que choisit Nando Bodha pour lancer un pavé dans la mare. Il cite nommément deux ministres, demandant si leurs noms sont mentionnés sur la liste des parieurs illégaux. Il s’agit d’Asraf Dulull, ministre du Logement et Rama Valayden, ministre de la Justice.”
Unsurprisingly, Le Matinal did not even bother to write on the affair…