Written by Tharushan Fernando
10 Feb, 2017 | 8:39 pm
The Joint Trade Unions Collective of the Auditor General’s Department allege that the parliament’s failure to pass the proposal on the salary of the Auditor General has resulted in the deprivation of the legal salary for the Auditor General.
According to article 153 (2) of the Constitution – The salary of the Auditor-General shall be determined by Parliament, shall be charged on the Consolidated Fund and shall not be diminished during his term of office. Such provisions have been made in the constitution as the Auditor General is one who is directly accountable to Parliament and in order to secure his independent functions.
However, the Joint Trade Unions Collective of the Auditor General’s Department claims that the salary of Gamini Wijesinghe , who was appointed to the post of Auditor General on November 27, 2015 , is yet to be approved by Parliament even though it has been one year and two months since the appointment.
Joint Trade Unions Collective of the Auditor General’s Department charges that an illegal enviroment has been created because the the salary of the Auditor General has not been submitted for cabinet approval and Parliamentary approval
According to the Joint Trade Union Collective ,before entering the Auditor General’s Department , Gamini Wijesinghe was the recipient of an attractive salary at the Sri Lanka Accounting and Auditing Standards Monitoring Board.
Convenor of the Joint Trade Unions Collective of the Auditor General’s Department pointed out that, according to the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, the Auditor General is not a public servant.
He added that many matters have been taken in to consideration and a letter was sent highlighting the required salary for the Auditor General. However, it has not been submitted to cabinet or parliament for approval.
He further noted that the Auditor General receives Rs.47,515 under the salary range of SL4. However the trade unions attached to the Auditor General’s Department does believe that this is a salary suitable for the Auditor General, and believes that the Auditor General must be provided with a salary that suits that position
These reports include those on the infamous treasury bond scam, rice import transactions and the coal deal.The Finance Minister had made a request to carry out an audit on the treasury bonds issued during the period between 2008 and 2015.
The manner in which this audit report was released was discussed across many fora as the Auditor General has presented the said report to COPE and uploaded it on to the official website of the Auditor General’s Department. In such a backdrop, civil organisations assert that the government has failed to ensure a legal salary for the position of Auditor General.
The National Movement for a Just Society pointed out that the position of Auditor General is one of the most important positions in governance and his powers are vested in auditing state finances. And once a year he will probe state institutions to inquire as to whether the income and expenditure is according to state policies, are there any short-comings and has any corruption or malpractice taken place and it is paramount that this is strictly followed.
The movement charged that it is the responsibility of cabinet and the parliament to ensure that this individual is given an attractive salary and other facilities
JVP MP, Sunil Handunnetti said that the salary issue that has risen has not only affected the salary of the Auditor General but has also resulted in the stalling of promotions at the Auditor General’s Department and recruitment to the Department.
COPE has made many startling revelations on the corruption and waste in the country and the Auditor General’s Department has carried out a considerable amount of work related to those revelations therefore this is an attempt to sabotage that process, observed MP Handunetti.
Former Auditor General,Sarath Chandrasiri Mayadunne said that the state audit process had a very favorable environment until the infamous bond scam was exposed,thereafter the process fell in to a state where they consider the Auditor General as a traitor because the Government must take the blame for the treasury bond scam.
He charged that those who are corrupt and their associates as well as those who want to commit more corrupt activities are the once who work against the Auditor General and the politicos linked to corruption are acting against the Auditor General and want to cause harm to him.
He further alleged that the group that the people believe are involved in the bond scam are the one’s who are mainly targeting the Auditor General and creating an inconvenience to him and they must be held responsible for this
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