Written by Amani Nilar
18 Dec, 2021 | 9:49 am
COLOMBO (News 1st); The Committee on Public Accounts (COPA) is responsible for monitoring the expenditure and the allocation of funds within the Parliament, and looking into the management, efficiency and the fiscal discipline of Ministries, Departments, Provincial Councils and Provincial Council Bodies.
It was revealed at the Committee on Public Accounts that direct foreign funds have been spent for 04 projects without the approval of the Treasury.
Presence of officials from the Attorney General’s Department when the Committee on Public Accounts convened for the final time before the prorogation of Parliament, is a significant fact.
The Former Chairman of the Committee on Public Accounts was Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna MP – Tissa Vitharana.
MPs Udaya Gammanpila, Duminda Dissanayake, Dayasiri Jayasekara, Lasantha Aalagiyawanna. Sudarshini Fernandopulle, Shehan Semasinghe, Prasanna Ranaweera, Tissa Aththanayake, Harin Fernando, Niroshan Perera, Faizal Cassim, Ashok Abeysinghe, Buddika Pathirana, Kadar Masthan, Mohommad Muzammil, Sivanayanam Sritharan, Upul Galapaththi, B.Y.J. Rathnasekara, Weerasumana Weerasinghe, Ranjith Bandara and Harini Aamarsooriya were the members of the COPA.
Speaking on the matter, the former Chairman of the COPA, Tissa Vitharana stated that there have been instances where Mercedes Benz cars have entered the Sri Lanka Customs by paying an entry tax for an ambulance, as public money have been looted a large extent in this country.
“The Committee on Public Accounts can only make recommendations to the relevant Ministry. It is the relevant Minister who has to take the appropriate action. For an example, I suggested that people must express their fair opinion when it comes to estimations. By doing so, there is an inflow of money to the Government. Even though I have made such recommendations, we cannot guarantee that those will be implemented. Some people say that the Parliament was prorogues to remove us from our positions. That can be true, that can be false as well. We do not know,” he said.
Moreover, the former members of the COPA, Ashok Abeysinghe also stated that the Committee on Public Accounts have to run checks on 820 institutions, who have massive state funds gathering issues and massive fraud and corruption allegations.
According to Abeysinghe, the COPA had decided to hold discussions with the Attorney General to determine whether legal action be taken against such corrupt institutions.
“A State Counsel representing the Attorney General held discussions with us last week. What we want is not only to reveal these corrupt dealings before the country but to punish the perpetrators and retrieve this lost money. I ask the Government to implement a process to continue our work in the future as well. I ask the Government not to change the Chairmen and the Members of these committees,” he stated.
Meanwhile, State Minister Dayasiri Jayasekara said that if the previous Chairman and the members are not appointed to those committees, it can be said that steps were taken to protect those dealings.
However, Minister Udaya Gammanpila, who was also a former member of the Committee on Public Accounts, said that all committees will be re-appointed when Parliament is reconvened, ad that there is no obstruction to resume the work that they were doing.
“I don’t believe that anyone is trying to change the decision of these committees. I can fearlessly say that the committee made the right decisions,” he added.
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