Special audit report on Diplomatic service performance soon | Daily News

Special audit report on Diplomatic service performance soon

A special audit report on the performance of Sri Lanka’s diplomatic service will be released shortly, Auditor General Gamini Wijesinghe said.

He said his Department is currently working on the document and the Department officials would be sent to diplomatic missions of Sri Lanka overseas to collect the necessary information. He was addressing an awareness programme for Parliamentary Journalists conducted by the Committee on Public Accounts (COPA) together with the Westminster Foundation for Democracy at Waters Edge in Battaramulla yesterday.

“There is a general opinion in the country that our diplomatic service is highly inefficient.

 In 2017 alone, the country has spent Rs.8.3 billion to maintain the offices of our diplomatic missions. The inefficiency in them is a problem of the performance of individuals appointed to those missions. What have they done to promote the image of the country or to promote trade or tourism? What have they given to the country in return? There has been no such assessment up to now.

No statistics are available,” the Auditor General said.

He said his Department has paid attention to produce sector-wise audit reports and the report on diplomatic service would be the first among them. Similarly, he said a report on Agrarian Services would also be produced in the time to come.

“The Agrarian Services Department has 300 odd branches country wide. However, most of them are inactive.

These are the closest units to the farmers. When asked as to what programme they have to revive this network, the relevant authorities went blank,” he added.

The Auditor General also lamented the inordinate delay in passing the National Audit Bill in Parliament, adding that the Audit Commission is idling for almost three years due to the absence of legal provisions.

He added that the Auditor General was not given the powers to audit the companies coming under the Corporations from the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, and therefore a lot of subsidiary companies of the CEB and may other companies such as Sri Lanka Telecom evade Government audit.

However, he pointed out provisions to audit such companies have been made in the Audit Bill, thus rectifying the loopholes of the 19th Amendment.

The Auditor General was also of the opinion that financial discipline of public institutions sharply deteriorated during the past administration due to arbitrary actions and decisions of a few individuals.

“The entire institutional structure collapsed as certain individuals had full control of them.

They changed the system per their whims and fancies. Offenders did not get any punishment for their wrong doings and instead got promotions setting bad a precedent. At the end, financial discipline was completely ruined,” he noted.

Observing that currently there is no procedure to impose punishment on public officials who breach the disciplinary code, he highlighted the need for a stronger mechanism to deal with offenses similar to that of former President Secretary Lalith Weeratunga’s ‘Sil Redi’ case.

He pointed out if the law on breaking financial regulations was implemented tightly, half of the public officials would have to be in jail today.

He pointed out over spending as well as under spending of an allocation is against the law. 

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There are 3 Comments

I commend the AG for introducing performance audits to the public sector. This will ensure that the government receive value for money on their investment.

How about an Audit for Politicians , Parliament, Provincial Councils, Local Councils members? When was this done last?

Strong institutional mechanisms are much needed to strengthen the democracy in the country and the role of the AG is very crucial.Also we need a set of reforms in political, economic, and social values.The challenge is how to educate the public to react against the political, economic and social evils and use their ballots in a meaningful way.

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