Written by Tharushan Fernando
30 Jan, 2017 | 8:57 pm
Leftist parties charge that a program is underway to discredit and put state officials who reveal details on the Central bank bond scam in compromising situations. They point out the pressure being applied on the auditor general at present is one such example.
On the 19th of August 2016, the minister of finance made a written request from the auditor general to submit a
report which answers specific queries on the bond transactions of the Central Bank from 2008 to 2015.
In response the Auditor General stated that he would compile such a report, even-though it does not fall under his direct purview, taking into consideration the national relevance of the request.
Thereby the auditor general conducted an investigation and submitted a report in this regard on the 16th of this month.
The report states that an in-depth investigation could not be conducted into the bond transactions during this period as the request had only been to answer 10 questions on the bond transactions during the period.
The auditor general further notes in his report that adequate time could not be spent on the investigation due to the impatience and the unethical reminders of the Minister of Finance.
A letter was sent to the auditor general on the 12th of February 2004 through the attorney general titles “Accountability and Audit of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka”. Through the letter the department advises not to disclose information on such matters to anyone and according to Min.Karunanayake this instruction been violated
JVP Parliamentarian,Bimal Ratnayake said that the central bank used this very letter to deny details to the COPE committee.
He charged that the financial management of the country as well as the auditor general’s department was a mess in the past.
“We should help the officials who are trying to rectify this, not oppose it. The auditor general can easily stay at home with this salary. He does not need to make all these reports ..”
Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has spoken regarding the matter with the speaker and in turn he had held discussions with the Auditor General who had expalined that the conditions of this letter were not violated when handing over the report
Auditor General’s Department’s Joint Trade Union Collective believes that the auditor general is not obligated to undertake any request made by ministers or the executive ,however ,based on the national relevance of this issue, the auditor general undertook a lengthy investigation into the bond issuances from 2009 to 2015.
According to the trade union the report was handed over to the speaker of parliament and as requested by the minister, a copy had been handed over to him. A copy of this report had also been given to the chairman of COPE.
“When we present it to Parliament, it becomes a public document, this has been uploaded on our website as well. The auditor general is the officials in charge of checking on the executive, therefore he has no obligation to heed the requests of the executive as well as the ministers ..”
Socialist Alliance says that since the reports of the auditor general are not beneficial to the government there is a big push to bring in allegations against him and it is politically unethical to bring such allegations against a high ranking government official such as the auditor general.
They charge that there is an attempt to reject the reports of the auditor general from the beginning, cover-up the bond scam and save Mahendran
What they are attempting to do is to reject the reports of the auditor general from the beginning, coverup the bond scam and save mahendran..”
Based on the report of the auditor general, the Former central bank governor Arjuna Mahendran, his son in law Arjun Aloysius and his company Perpetual treasuries were identified as the persons responsible for the fraud that was committed, according to Citizens Voice for a Just Society
“That is why some ministers of this government have taken steps to launch attacks at the auditor general. There was a serious effort undertaken in the recent past to bury the bond scam. They tried to stop it from being investigated by COPE, then they tried to put obstacles so that COPE wont be able to carry out it’s activities properly. These are just some of the actions taken to defend the perpetrators.” said Chandrasena Wijeysinghe (Citizens Voice for a Just Society)
The Citizens Voice for a Just Society called on the powers of the auditor general to be expanded through the proposed audit bill which should be brought in expeditiously.
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