Auditor General in govt.’s crosshairs
Posted on July 19th, 2016

Editorial Courtesy The Island

 The government keeps telling us it is for an independent public service. But, it like its predecessor, obviously, does not want public officials to be so independent as to stand up to it on crucial issues that threaten its political survival. It spares no effort either in taming intrepid bureaucrats who have the courage to resist political pressure and act according to their conscience or in denying them their due promotions or in smoking them out.

The government has already made a mockery of its ‘yahapalana’ slogan by filling the top notches of the Attorney General’s Department, the Central Bank and the Police with persons of its choice at the expense of the most eligible officials who were not malleable. The much-touted Constitutional Council has been reduced to a mere rubber stamp of the powers that be; it is packed with members bound by a common political agenda; most of them joined forces to engineer last year’s regime change. The 19th Amendment has become a farce with the ruling party politicians continuing to interfere in the police, the judiciary and the public service.

Now, Auditor General Gamini Wijesinghe is in the government’s crosshairs if the hostile campaign some ruling party politicians and their cyber hit men have launched against him is any indication. He has ruffled the feathers of the government bigwigs by issuing a damning report on the mega bond scams. He has done the public service proud.

The Joint Opposition (JO) claims the on-going campaign against the Auditor General commenced the day the JVP raised a question in Parliament, quoting figures from a report he had prepared. The JVP demanded to know if the government had drawn loans in excess of the amount sanctioned by Parliament. The JVP insists it was a curve ball but its opponents argue it was a full toss and the government danced down the track and lofted it over the pavilion. The JO claims the  JVP helped the government potentates summon the Auditor General in a bid to intimidate him into submission before his report on the bond issue was released. The JVP has denied the allegation. Thankfully, the government’s despicable efforts came a cropper, but unfortunately the courageous official became a marked target.

It is imperative that the Auditor General withstand political pressure and remain in his post until the parliamentary probe into the bond scams is over. Else, a stooge will be appointed as his successor and the crooks responsible for the fraud will go scot free. That seems to be the battle plan of those who want to oust the intrepid official.

Strangely, most of the civil society activists who are making a public display of their commitment to good governance have not taken up the cudgels for the beleaguered Auditor General.

When the Rajapaksa government, intoxicated with power and blinded by hubris, targeted the then Chief Justice Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake, who did not succumb to political pressure as regards what became known as the Divineguma case many were the defenders of democracy who leapt to her defence— and rightly so. Why are they silent today?

Meanwhile, the Auditor General’s Department employees are protesting against a protracted delay in ratifying the National Audit Bill (NAB) and not-so-surreptitious government moves to do away with 20 out of 57 sections thereof to reduce the powers of the Auditor General. The Rajapaksa government blocked the presentation of the NAB to Parliament for ten long years and the incumbent administration which promised good governance is also sitting on it unashamedly.

Numerous professional organisations and civil society outfits which take to the streets at the drop of a hat ought to pledge solidarity with the Auditor General and campaign for the ratification of the National Audit Bill sans the amendments aimed at diluting it. That is the only we they can prove that they are not a bunch of hypocrites.

2 Responses to “Auditor General in govt.’s crosshairs”

  1. Christie Says:

    සින්හලයින්ගේ රට අද මුලුමනින්ම ඉන්දියානු යටත් විජිතයකි. මෙය වටහා ගන්නා තුරු සින්හලයාට ගැලවීමක් නැත.

  2. Ananda-USA Says:

    As if Arjuna Mahendran has not done ENOUGH DAMAGE to Sri Lanka, the Yamapalana GoSL is appointing him to a TOP POST …………… managing the ETCA to boot! This is asking the FOX to mind the HEN HOUSE!

    The Yamapalanaya GoSL has NO SHAME and is COMPLETELY DISREGARDING the objections of Sri Lankans, including …. apparently …..President Sirisena himself!

    Instead of being INDITED AND PROSECUTED for the Bond Scam crime, he is being given MORE IMPORTANT JOBS!

    Meanwhile, the Auditor General Gamini Wijesinghe is being HOUNDED, NO DOUBT to get him to RECANT the his SCATHING audit of the Bond Scam!

    Yahapalanaya INDEED! What a FARCE!

    ……………………
    A top post for Mahendran

    DailyMirror.lk
    July 19, 2016

    Former Central Bank Governor Arjuna Mahendran is to play a major role in finalizing trade agreements with foreign countries including the proposed Indo-Lanka Economic and Technological Cooperation Agreement (ECTA), top government sources said today.

    He is also expected to play a role in the government’s programme of providing one million jobs which was one of the pledges made by the Government during the recent elections.

    Mr. Mahendran is expected to be assisted by several top personalities from the private sector in implementing the programme to generate one million jobs.

    Sources said he would play a major role in initiating the free trade agreements which Sri Lanka hoped to sign with China and Singapore.

    Mr. Mahendran is expected to return to the country today and will participate in a meeting with experts in several fields at Temple Trees on Thursday. (Yohan Perera)

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