Written by Keshala Dias
21 Aug, 2017 | 5:51 pm
Transparency International Sri Lanka (TISL) has expressed concerns regarding reports that the cabinet of ministers plans to curtail the proposed powers of the Auditor General, under the National Audit Bill, which would limit the Auditor General’s ability to hold individuals personally liable for losses caused to state entities.
TISL urges the government to retain these surcharging powers which are in keeping with international best practices, whilst being mindful of the opportunity to further detail the surcharge and appeals process at the committee stage of parliament.
TISL Executive Director Asoka Obeysekere stated that ‘whilst surcharging powers should be retained, it would be prudent to ensure that the law specifies ever clearer processes for the imposition of a surcharge.
At the same time, the appeal procedure needs to be unbiased and devoid of any appearance of conflict of interest for the Auditor General. TISL believes that the current Bill raises issues in these two matters, which can be remedied and strengthened at the committee stage of parliament’.
The National Audit Bill has been deferred on numerous occasions since it was initially proposed in Cabinet in April 2015. As a key pledge of President Maithripala Sirisena’s 100 day manifesto, the passage of the National Audit Bill is essential to strengthen financial accountability across the state structure.
TISL calls on the Cabinet to display its commitment to fighting corruption and enhancing the scrutiny of public finance by tabling the National Audit Bill before parliament.
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