The local political scene is bubbling up more intensely with the forced resignation of Mr Yatin Varma as Attorney General and Member of Parliament and the unexpected arrest of PPS Reza Issack. These developments stem from the famous car accident involving Mr Varma and Mr Y. Jeannot. What is the sin committed by Mr Varma in the first place ? Is it lying ? Is it concealing the truth ?
We have witnessed in the world many instances where politicians of different ranks were caught lying while holding public office. In the US, President R. Nixon paid a terrible price after consistently lying in the Watergate scandal. He had to resign. However, he saved his skin by benefiting from a pardon granted to him by his successor. President B. Clinton lied in the Monica Lewinsky sex scandal. He denied having sexual relations with that young woman, an intern at the White House, but later had to concede he had an inappropriate relationship with her. Following the report of a special prosecutor, Clinton was publicly dragged before a Committee to decide on whether to destitute him or not. I like to think that Clinton’s previous good actions must have helped him to get out of the abyss. He was saved from destitution in extremis.
The consequences of lying, especially on the part of those holding high office can be devastating and can engulf them and their families like a tsunami. The consequences can also cause tremors in the government and political circles.
Recently, in France, Dr J. Cahuzac, the Minister for Budget was compelled to resign from his ministerial post and from the National Assembly because he lied over a foreign account he held in a Swiss bank. Soon after his appointment as Minister, a journalist from a local newspaper published articles, claiming that Cahuzac had a secret bank account in Switzerland. Cahuzac repeatedly denied the claim. Despite a campaign of threats and abuse, the journalist held his ground and finally he was proved right. I watched an interview given by the journalist after Cahuzac’s resignation and he explained that the fight was between truth and lie. He regretted that the French President and his Prime Minister had failed to order a proper inquiry into Cahuzac’s foreign bank account, thus allowing the situation to rot for months.
 Let us return to the local scene. When, shortly after the famous road accident, details of statements by parties concerned appeared in the press, the Leader of the Opposition called for the Attorney General to step down pending the police inquiry. The Prime Minister unequivocally stated that he would ask a Minister to resign not on the basis of press reports, but on the establishment of a prima facie case. Brushing aside issues like decency, public morality and the status of the Attorney General as the chief government legal adviser, he hammered the point that he was a man of principles and would stick to his guns.
On Monday last a newspaper and a radio station reported new developments on the case. According to their journalists, Mr Varma, Mr Issack and Mr Allet, Chairman of the Mauritius Marine Authority, were trying to make a monetary deal with the Jeannot family for the winding up of the case. The live interviews on one radio station caught the nation off foot. The Commissioner of Police issued a statement on the same evening to say that an inquiry would be initiated immediately on a case of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.