I will not let anyone politicize this post Auditor General Gamini Wijesinghe
Posted on February 9th, 2017

Yasawardena Rodrigo Courtesy The Daily Mirror

Auditor General Gamini Wijesinghe is now at the centre of much controversy, with certain MPs and Ministers expressing their views of him and some even having gone to the extent of criticizing his findings on the Bond Scam, saying it is not independent. The most recent announcement by Minister Kiriella in Parliament that the AGs report had been rejected by the World Bank added further criticism from others as well. Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake identifies him as an arrogant person, charging that the report he had requested from him had been handed over to the JVP MPs instead of to him. The Auditor General was interviewed regarding the issues he faced in the discharge of his duties.

 On January 17, the report was handed over to the Minister and the receipt of it was acknowledged under signature. You must ask him. The copy I sent to the chairman of the COPE committee which had been lying on the table during the time the Minister was abroad was taken by MP Bimal Rathnayake  No one can object to my handing over such reports to the Parliament. I am frank but the Minister isn’t.

QAuditor Generals in the past never openly discussed their reports. Why are you deviating from such traditions?   
The Right to Information Bill is in operation now and therefore nothing can be hidden from the public. My reports are all transparent and open. Therefore I should speak openly. Audit reports contain details as to what happened to public money. Therefore it is in order to know what happened to them and keeping them secret is not correct.


QIs there a conflict between you and the government?   
My duty is to investigate the workings of the Yahapalana government, which does not lead to any struggle between us.
QThe joint opposition is of the view that the government is attempting to remove you from your post and the government is bent on creating frustrations about your performance of official duties.   
I am tempted to think that way, as what is happening now has never been faced by my predecessors.

The Right to Information Bill is in operation now and therefore nothing can be hidden from the public. My reports are all transparent and open. Therefore I should speak openly. Audit reports contain details as to what happened to public money. Therefore it is in order to know what happened to them and keeping them secret is not correct 

QRecently a newspaper carried the headline Group of MPs to protect the auditor general”. It tends to prove that you have been politicized.   
Those things are not relevant to me and I cannot say no to them.
QThe government said the National audit Bill would be brought before the Parliament last month and have it approved but it did not happen. What is the reason for this continued delay?   
You should ask the government about this. I have done everything from my angle and I cannot go beyond that.
Q Trade Unions and others accuse that out of 54 clauses in the Audit Bill 49 had been amended. With these amendments will the Bill become ineffective?   
We were not told of these amendments and even if the Bill becomes law it would not have any value. We are not happy at all about this position and it is wrong to delay it in this manner.

The losses from the Bond sales at the Central Bank are continuing. There is no way of accurately estimating the loss. I am not going to do another auditing on that. I have only stated the amount of the loss incurred at the time. The future interest rates would depend on it. It would be a severe injustice to the public and to the country’s economy 

QWhat is your opinion about the Audit Commission and the failure in implementing its proposals? Don’t you think that it is a wastage of public money?   
The Audit commission was established in November 2015 and they are functioning at a building at the Borella junction. About 20 people are employed there. As the Audit act has not been passed yet you cannot get any work done by them. They are presently attending to petty things and more than Rs.2 million is being spent on its maintenance. As this is a wastage of money, the act should be implemented early.
QThere is a charge that despite the Finance Minister requesting your report on the Bond Issue several times, you had handed over same to the JVP. Is it true?   
On January 17, the report was handed over to the Minister and the receipt of it was acknowledged under signature. You must ask him. The copy I sent to the chairman of the COPE committee which had been lying on the table during the time the Minister was abroad was taken by MP Bimal Rathnayake. No one can object to my handing over such reports to the Parliament. I am frank but the Minister isn’t.

Before this position, I served as Director General of the Sri Lanka council for accounts and audit standards, where I received more than RS.350,000 as the monthly salary. I gave up that position and opted to serve the public by accepting this post 

QA powerful Minister recently declared in Parliament that the World Bank had stated that the audit report contravenes international standards. What have you got to say?   
I do not submit reports to the World Bank. I forward my reports to our Parliament. It is an untruth that the World Bank said so. What they stated is We are not aware” and were not found fault with it. They have no right to say so. We have those letters with us.
QCan the government declare that your reports are faulty?   
The government cannot say such things. If they are saying them that is only to escape from the charges levelled at them. This is like a game of cops and robbers. The robber is scared to go past the police station. Because of my duty, some have fallen out with me, which is unavoidable.

QAfter releasing the audit reports aren’t you following them up and making inquiries?   
What I present is an investigation stating my comments and opinions. I am bound to submit them to the Parliament or the Legislature. These are not given to the Executive. Once I complete my part of the duty, the rest is in the hands of others.

QIn carrying out your duties was there any obstructions? Has the government failed to meet your needs?   
With the passing of the 19th amendment, my area of operations have broadened. I am now entrusted with the audit of Air Lanka, Insurance Corporation and several government undertakings. For this additional work, the staff is insufficient and the facilities provided fall far short, Anyway we continue. We have recruited a few recently.

QHas the issue of your salary and other facilities now been resolved?   
I have now completed 14 months of service and am now getting a monthly basic salary of Rs.69,000. This salary is also irregular, as according to clause 154 of the constitution, the salary of the Auditor General has to be approved by the Parliament. It has not happened that way. Therefore the salary I receive is maintained in a different account. The salary of an auditor general is determined by his qualifications and his period of service. Parliament should decide on the salary of the auditor general. But in my case, the Parliament did not decide and therefore I continue to receive the old salary.
Before this position, I served as Director General of the Sri Lanka council for accounts and audit standards, where I received more than RS 350,000 as the monthly salary. I gave up that position and opted to serve the public by accepting this post.

QDid you accept this post at a lower salary because of a low level of qualifications?   
A- I have served as an officer of the government service for 33 years, out of which I served at the Inland Revenue department for 28 years. I am an accounts graduate. I have completed a post graduate course in Economics in Korea. There are many other professional qualifications. There are very few who possess this type of qualification. Therefore no one can pinpoint and say that I lack qualifications.

QMany charge that you are keen in holding a media circus.   
I do not need these media circuses and there is no necessity for show ups. I only reply when the media asks me something like you did. I am too busy and have no time to go after media.

QAre you frustrated with what is going on the government side?   
I am well-versed in working in the paddy fields. I am now 58-years-old. I have only another two years before retirement. I am striving to work with dedication during these two years but if this type of ill-treatment continues, I will leave before retirement and go to my village and engage in cultivation. I will not change the reports I published. Up to now no one has been able to change my opinions. These are threats with no basis.

QAre there some keen on politicizing the post of Auditor General?   
I will not bow down to anyone and as long as I hold this position, I will not let anyone politicize this post. The environment should be in place even for my successor to work independently.

QSome are of the opinion that your reports should not be implemented like the Buddha’s teachings.   
I do not say they are teachings of Buddha. My duty is to state my opinion. Those who want to can implement them or throw them aside.

QThey have still not found a solution for your report on the Bond incident.   
The losses from the Bond sales at the Central Bank are continuing. There is no way of accurately estimating the loss. I am not going to do another auditing on that. I have only stated the amount of the loss incurred at the time. The future interest rates would depend on it. It would be a severe injustice to the public and to the country’s economy. Therefore, it is difficult to assess the volume of the continued losses.

QWhat are your future audit investigations?   
A-The large amount misused in the Coal tender and the loss of more than Rs.15 billion during the import of rice are among the completed investigations. These reports are due to be released and with that there is going to be more.

– See more at: http://www.dailymirror.lk/article/I-will-not-let-anyone-politicize-this-post-Auditor-General-Gamini-Wijesinghe-123562.html#sthash.g2GiELJQ.dpuf

One Response to “I will not let anyone politicize this post Auditor General Gamini Wijesinghe”

  1. Ancient Sinhalaya Says:

    Hats off to this brave man. But be very careful! Traitor YAMA PALLAN don’t like people who don’t toe their line,
    of course. If they go out of line, they use their pathalayin to silence them. You probably already are in the cross hairs of Traitor chief die hard catholic token Buddhist Batalande Wadakaya pol pot [email protected] wickramaSinhalakiller the Pathala
    Man PM. Hope you will survive the traitor YAMA PALLAN to show there are still people with conscience.

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