Auditor General shows mismatch in loans and assets

8 February 2018 11:40 am - 24     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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Auditor General Gamini Wijesinghe said according to the latest financial declarations, the country’s foreign and domestic loan account stood at Rs. 8.9 trillion by the end of 2016, but the audited domestic assets stood at only Rs.1.1 trillion.

He said that the main reason for this was the failure to utilise loans properly and in the estimated manner for projects.

Addressing the media yesterday, Mr Wijesinghe charged that auditing and maintaining a correct balance sheet at almost all development projects launched with foreign loans, Ministries, Departments and Semi-Government ventures has caused problems to the state auditing system.

“The main reason for this situation in the public finance was the all-powerful chief Auditing Officer of the Treasury during the previous Government overseeing the budget, monetary policy and administration,” he said.

Explaining that trillions of public funds were not found in the books or audit reports, Mr Wijesinghe said there were public funds allocated to Provincial Councils and Semi-Government ventures that were not found in books.

“A bigger portion of loans obtained for major development projects from foreign banks and global financial agencies for higher interest rates of 5% have been diverted for non-productive purposes and recurrent expenditure.

“Though there was a policy decision that foreign loans obtained must not exceed 80% of the GDP, this rule had not been followed and loans have been taken excessively. When the capital raised from loans for the development project is used for other objectives, with no dividends or for people, debt-servicing comes cumbersome and a liability on the Treasury.

“It also makes loan repayment unmanageable, which has exactly happened at the moment,” Mr Wijesinghe pointed out.

Mr Wijesinghe said the nom de guerre ‘Economic Assassin’ used to identify him was quite appropriate, when taken into account the harm he has done to the country’s economy.

“The Uma – Oya multi-purpose development project, D.A Rajapaksa Memorial Centre, unauthorised rice imports, construction of Suriyawewa Cricket Stadium are some of the projects that had been launched using foreign loans but with no dividends,” he said.

“There has been no proper Feasibility Study or Environment Impact Assessment for Uma Oya Project, D.A. Rajapaksa memorial has been constructed by the Land Reclamation and Development Corporation without a plan and funds, Suriyawewa International Cricket Stadium has also been constructed with excessive funds than the estimated investment. These projects are only the tip of the iceberg. There are more failed investment projects launched using foreign commercial loans that have further exacerbated the debt servicing, Mr Wijesinghe emphasised.

“Responding to a journalist, Mr. Wijesinghe said if the proposed ‘National Audit Act’ had been in the statute book in 2015, the bond scandal would not have happened because the new piece of legislation gives more power to the Auditor General’s Department and Ministry Secretaries, who are the chief accounting officers of Ministries.

“The main culprits to the current sad situation in public finance are the Secretaries of the Ministries. Many of them are working for the Minister and without hesitation carry out irregular orders of the Minister. The best example is the Sil Redi case,” he said.

Mr Wijesinghe in a lighter vein said Ministry Secretaries must not get frightened to work at the Treasury (Siberia) as a punishment for refusing to carry out an illegal order of a Minister as they get paid their salary for doing nothing.

“You can read Pansiya Panas Jathakaya as you are not unoccupied. It is better than obeying to do dishonest or illegal job ordered by a Minister,” he said.

Commenting on the long delay in passing the ‘National Audit Bill’ in Parliament, Mr Wijesinghe said the main obstacle to enact the Audit Bill was Ministry Secretaries or Chief Accounting Officers.

“They are frightened that their power and influence would be drastically diminished if the National Audit Bill was enacted. But we are determined to enact this Bill this month as it will bring remedies for many ills in the economy and public finance," Mr Wijesinghe stressed. (Sandun A Jayasekera)

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  Comments - 24

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  • Roman Thursday, 08 February 2018 12:13 PM

    Forget about Paradise!

    city Thursday, 08 February 2018 12:13 PM

    Finally the truth has come out officially.he should have made this statement before the bond inquiries and commission was commenced.this statement makes a huge impact on the bond issues.

    Rider Thursday, 08 February 2018 12:14 PM

    Valuable revelation by a respected gentleman indeed. But his suddenly arranged Presscon ahead of the election is fishy...

    Sincere Thursday, 08 February 2018 12:17 PM

    How about the amounts from those trillions that went into the pockets of politicians and their henchmen?

    PC Thursday, 08 February 2018 12:37 PM

    What more proof do we need of the plunder during the term of the previous regime? Those who yet support it are either rogues themselves or mentally retarded.

    BuffaloaCitizen Thursday, 08 February 2018 02:55 PM

    The people who plundered this nation and those who support them are the real traitors to this nation.

    Jerry Thursday, 08 February 2018 12:47 PM

    Hats off to this remarkable public servant. His hand must be strengthened without delay.He has identified MR's vanity projects which included a memorial for their parents.

    willowsd Thursday, 08 February 2018 02:14 PM

    Anything has to say now? anyway it is too late

    rajitha7 Thursday, 08 February 2018 02:47 PM

    I have always wondered how the former treasury sec P.B. Jayasundara did not get interviewed by the FCID.

    Lion Thursday, 08 February 2018 02:50 PM

    We need public servants like this. Former auditor general Mayadunne too contributed a great service to this country.

    Casanova Thursday, 08 February 2018 02:52 PM

    He should calculate 75% commission to this.

    The critic Thursday, 08 February 2018 02:57 PM

    Unofficially it was no secret!Thanks to the elections it's official now!Now the question is how to get the loot back!

    bandara Thursday, 08 February 2018 03:23 PM

    and the man who is responsible for all this fiasco wants to come back to create a paradise????

    kamal Thursday, 08 February 2018 03:29 PM

    Dear All,Please pass the AUDIT bill then we all will tell him or someone like him to give leadership to the whole country.

    Senaka Thursday, 08 February 2018 03:52 PM

    BR has the remaining 7.8 trillion.

    Ajja Thursday, 08 February 2018 04:05 PM

    AG..Where were you hiding all these time.Its good at least one brave public servant break the shackles and open up his mouth to tell the truth.No wonder we have been ranked recently at EU as one of the most corrupted countries in the world including Money laundering.MR and his goons including the present day Blue and Green goons have ruin the motherland.You respectable daylight robbers are deserved to end up in a bloody hell.

    Rasheed Thursday, 08 February 2018 04:05 PM

    Why is he revealing at the time election, Election Commissioner should look into it.

    chandra Thursday, 08 February 2018 05:14 PM

    Aut.Gen.'s behaviour is Questionable and doubt. Now he is showing a drama telling about "Y.ma". I think that Aud.Gen., is expecting extension.

    RAK Thursday, 08 February 2018 05:49 PM

    Evidence of using governemnt emplyees for polictical gains under Yahapalanaya. Way to go.. Tomorrow we may hear more nataka..

    Sambo Thursday, 08 February 2018 06:03 PM

    Dear Mr. Auditor General, Thanks for showing the public how they have been pawned to the world by our great politicians.

    Lal Thursday, 08 February 2018 06:38 PM

    Playing on stage of my3

    Weli Raju Thursday, 08 February 2018 10:49 PM

    Polonnaruwa Politics ? Any investigations on Sydney Morning Herald disclosures and ex- Fisheries Ministry dealings ?

    sanjeewa Friday, 09 February 2018 12:51 AM

    Did you get up just now in a great sleep just before the election. was there Audit Department existing ever before. I through Audit Department was to audit CBSL also every year. if you could not take up these financial irregularities on time, better to close down your department and go home. A responsible officer is challenging the most powerful and responsible entity in the country related to economic policies and the finance. we cannot expect a Petti Kade to run like this if Auditor general is correct.

    sas Friday, 09 February 2018 04:05 PM

    Well said by a highly respected gentleman.


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