Ex-minister Samaraweera challenges President on powers of handling state expenses

Ex-minister Samaraweera challenges President on powers of handling state expenses

Ex-minister Samaraweera challenges President on powers of handling state expenses

Written by Staff Writer

06 May, 2020 | 10:32 am

COLOMBO (News1st): Former finance minister Mangala Samaraweera has challenged President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to prove that he has constitutional powers to handle state funds from April 30.

Samaraweera recently wrote to the President, urging to reconvene Parliament – which stands dissolved – citing that it has full control over public finance.

He pointed out that the government “has no legal right to bear public expenditure after April 30”, as the vote-on-account for the first quarter of 2020 expired last week, leaving the country without a budget.

However, the President’s Secretary had responded saying that the President can handle expenses under Section 150 (3) of the constitution, for three months through a vote-on-account after convening the new Parliament, as an appropriation bill has not been passed.

The former finance minister responded back on Tuesday saying that the letter sent by the President’s Secretary “does not address the pertinent issues mentioned in the letter but instead, refers to external matters of no consequence”.

“…my letter to the President emphasized that only Parliament can lawfully authorize spending of public funds from April 30 up to the date on which Parliament is summoned to meet again,” he noted adding that the date on which the new Parliament would be convened has not been declared yet.

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