Satyam is a singular case, says Singapore diplomat (Lead)

February 10th, 2009 - 10:31 pm ICT by IANS  

Ramalinga RajuNew Delhi, Feb 10 (IANS) Terming the Satyam Computer Services scam a “singular case”, a senior Singapore diplomat said here Tuesday that India would be able to face up to the crisis and emerge “stronger” from it.

“What happened to Satyam came as a surprise and shock, but we are pleased at the speed of the Indian government that has replaced the board with very credible and highly respected individuals,” Tommy Koh, ambassador-at-large at Singapore’s ministry of foreign affairs, told reporters.

The Rs.70-billion (Rs.7,000-crore) accounting fraud, he felt, happened due to the lack of integrity of a few individuals. “Therefore, we should not punish the many thousands of good people who work in Satyam,” he said.

Satyam founder B. Ramalinga Raju, his brother B. Rama Raju, former chief financial officer Vadlmani Srinivas and two former auditors from auding firm Pricewaterhouse are now in jail in connection with the scam, arguably the largest one in India’s corporate history.

The IT company has several contracts in its credit to provide services to Singapore.

“You can turn what was a misfortune into a fortune if you do it well. The challenge is to do it well, that India can face up to a crisis such as this and emerge even stronger than before,” he said.

Koh added that he did not think that the Satyam case marred the reputation of the entire Indian IT industry.

“You have so many bluechip companies so that I like to think that this is a singular case,” he said.

The Singapore diplomat was leading a delegation from his country to attend the second two-day India-Singapore Strategic Dialogue, which ended Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Koh said Asia had to “resist protectionism in any form”. He was referring to the increasing tendency of national governments to put up trade barriers to protect domestic industry in the wake of the economic meltdown.

He also called for reducing barriers among Asian countries, which will increase dynamism. “Rather than retracting, it’s time to accelerate economic liberalism,” he said.

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