Sunday Observer Online


Sunday, 03 July 2016





Marriage Proposals
Government Gazette

Confusion over Audit Draft Bill

Document yet to reach Cabinet:

The long overdue new Audit Draft Bill that will give sweeping powers to the Auditor General to hold state officials accountable over fiscal matters has stopped short of reaching Cabinet.

The Auditor General Gamini Wijesinghe said they were expecting the draft Bill to be presented to Cabinet this week but due to some reason or other it has been going back and forth for the past several weeks.

This was the third time it failed to reach Cabinet, the Auditor General said.

Earlier, a contentious proposal to set up an independent fund for the Department to support incidental expenses was abandoned after it received stiff resistance. Subsequently an amended draft was sent back to the Prime Minister’s office which is responsible for submitting the relevant cabinet paper.

The draft carrying legal provisions to give extensive powers to the Auditor General was prepared fulfilling a promise of the unity government under the 100 day program.

“We cannot maintain independence if we need to ask for money from the Finance Ministry for every major assignment that come our way, for instance the Central Bank bond issue,” the Auditor General pointed out.

The proposed independent fund was to be sustained by fees levied on private assignments by the Auditor General. The Department agreed to empty the fund to the Treasury coffers at the end of every financial year and hold a special audit by an independent body.

“But since there was resistance to this proposal from the bureaucracy, it was dropped.” Once the act is in place the Auditor General’s office will have financial independence from the Treasury over budgetary allocations. The speaker and the parliament will be empowered to approve the annual estimates. “These proposals are in keeping with UN standards,” he said adding that their effort is to transform this Agency into a Supreme Audit Institution.


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