By Ajith Siriwardana
The Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) yesterday revealed that the government had illegally approved Rs. 1229 billion from a Vote on Account for three months from March to May while Parliament was dissolved.
JVP MP Sunil Handunnetti said funds had been allocated for government expenses until April 30 on a Vote on Account passed in Parliament last year and that the Finance Ministry had in its website said that another Vote on Account had been prepared on March 6 for three months from March to May.
“According to the Fiscal Management (Responsibility) Act, the government should reveal the country’s fiscal situation within three months of dissolving Parliament. Accordingly, the finance ministry has posted on March 23 in its website the fiscal situation where it states details of another Vote on Account for Rs. 1229 billion prepared by the President under Article 150(3) of the Constitution. Since Parliament had not been convened on March 6. A vote is required to be obtained to approve a Vote on Account. The question is how was it approved when Parliament was dissolved on March 2? No one can use a Vote on Account without the approval of Parliament. Therefore it is illegal,” he said.
MP Handunnetti said under Article 150(3) of the Constitution, the President has no power to approve a Vote on Account, he can only use funds of the Consolidated Fund for state services for three months from the date of the new Parliament to be convened.
“The President has no legal powers to spend money as he pleases. It is a serious matter to have prepared a illegal document without powers to spend state funds. The Finance Minister and ministry officials should be ready to accept the responsibility for preparing such an account,’’ he said.