Sri Lanka: Why is the Finance Minister scared of Auditor General?

( January 26, 2017, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayke participating in the debate in Parliament in connection with the Central Bank bond scam yesterday (25th) blamed the Auditor General stating he had released a report on bond transaction details to JVP Parliamentarian Bimal Rathnayaka. Mr. Karunanayake described the Auditor General as an “arrogant Government servant.

However, COPE Chairman Sunil Handuneththi had clarified at the start of proceedings that Mr. Bimal Rathnayaka was given the report as he took over as COPE Chairman during a leave of absence by Handuneththi.

The leader of the JVP and Chief Whip of the Opposition pointed out that the Central Bank has been taken over by the Prime Minister and doesn’t come under the purview of the Ministry of Finance. He also explained that COPE carried out investigations connected with the Central Bank and the Auditor General could send a report connected to such investigations. He also stated that the Auditor General is appointed by the Parliament and he is responsible for the Parliament.

The Prime Minister too spoke disapproving the action of the Auditor General for sending sensitive information ‘without using a closed official envelope’.

A report by the Auditor General had also supported the COPE findings with regard to the Central Bank bond scam and the UNP has been accused of attempting to take edge off the COPE report that accused former Central Bank Governor for his connection to the scam. Opposition MPs also accuse the Prime Minister of attempting to shield the former Governor.

Meanwhile, the Speaker Karu Jayasuriya said in Parliament yesterday that the COPE report on the Central Bank bond issue was handed over to the Attorney General.


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