The Central Bank plans to complete six forensic audits on the Employees’ Provident Fund’s (EPF) investments in equities and treasury bonds and the operations of a few selected entities regulated and supervised by it, as recommended by the bond commission appointed by the president.
Central Bank Governor Dr. Indrajit Coomaraswamy yesterday denied the claims that there was a delay in conducting the forensic audits.
“The forensic audits didn’t get delayed. The bond commission report was issued in January 2018. So we started working on the recommendations from January. However, it’s a very complex process. All this has to be done in a very careful manner. If we got the process little wrong, someone could go to courts and then the whole thing has to start again,” he said.
He pointed out that the process included preparing a term of reference for each audit with the assistance of the Auditor General followed by calling for expressions for interest, requests for proposals and evaluating proposals.
Dr. Coomaraswamy noted that the relevant procurement committees are currently evaluating the proposals submitted by the bidders.
“Hopefully, we will be able to award contracts for undertaking of these six forensic audits by February. The longest audit will take about nine months. If all goes according to the schedule, everything will be completed by the end of this year,” he said.
Answering to media queries, Dr. Coomaraswamy said that the Presidential Secretariat had been kept informed on the progress of conducting forensic audits.
“We sent a progress report to the Presidential Secretariat on October 26,” he added.
Senior Deputy Governor Dr. Nandalal Weerasinghe noted that the Attorney General only showed interest in the six forensic audits for the prosecution of suspects of the bond scam in the latter part of last year, as initially the objectives of the audits were to find out whether any mishaps have taken place in the operations of the Central Bank, as recommended by the bond commission.
He stressed that the Central Bank would only facilitate and procure these audits while the Auditor General would be in charge of the conduct.
Dr. Coomaraswamy added that the Central Bank is planning to get interim reports from each audit once the audits are underway. (NF)