20A: Serious issues relating to auditing of state-run institutions

Staff Writer | Author . පරිවර්තනය කරන්න සිංහල හෝ தமிழ் 9/14/2020 11:07:00 AM
20A: Serious issues relating to auditing of state-run institutions

By Shalika Wimalasena | Translated By Akitha Wijayasinghe

There are serious audit-related issues in the 20A and it is problematic that enough attention was not given to the matter, senior auditors claim.

They said even though abolishing the ability to investigate the transactions which affect the fiscal management directly such as bond transactions and cancelling audits in state companies are some of these issues.

The Auditor General’s Department was authorized to carry out full audits in the institutes in which the government owns 50% of the total shares and are under the government corporations. 

Accordingly, full audits in 117 state companies including Maga Neguma, LECO, Sri Lanka Insurance and account audits in another 32 companies were done by the Auditor General’s Department.

Auditor General’s Department jurisdiction to audit the institutes under these companies which were registered under the Companies Act No. 07 of 2007.

What Sri Lanka Audit Service Association (SLASA) emphasize is that this has been completely abolished by the proposed 20A. Also, they show that although they have the authority to audit accounts in special institutes like the Central Bank, they have been restricted from investigating the account transaction processes by the amendment made “including the accounts” to “accounts”.

For an example, the Auditor General’s Department was allowed to look over measures taken by the Monetary Board of the Central Bank and tender procedures. But if the 20A is passed, those institutes have the authority to question the authority of the National Audit Office to investigate their procedures.

In an inquiry made on this, a senior lawyer said that if such a situation arises, definitely an interpretation of the High Court will be necessary. As this amendment abolishes the power to carry out audits, there will be no authority to summon any of the relevant state companies to the COPE.  Parliament losing fiscal control is a consequential issue and it’s a subject that does not belong to the executive, the President of the SLASA emphasized commenting on the matter.