Oct 11, Colombo: Sri Lanka's cabinet of ministers has granted approval to present the much awaited National Audit Bill in parliament at the cabinet meeting held yesterday (10th) under the patronage of President Maithripala Sirisena.
The previous draft National Audit Bill which was at an impasse was submitted to the cabinet by Special Project Minister Dr. Sarath Amunugama after making two major amendments.
The two amendments has been proposed by the Ministerial Sub-Committee headed by Dr. Sarath Amunugama.
In the earlier draft, it had been proposed to give power to the Auditor General to impose personal financial responsibility or surcharges on individuals who have caused financial loss to a state entity through fraud, direct willful negligence, misappropriation or corruption.
However, the powers proposed for the Auditor General became contentious and ministers from both SLFP and the UNP have opposed the legislation. Reportedly, in the amended version, the Auditor General has no authority on imposition of surcharges on wrongdoing and any action against any institution or individual will be the responsibility of the relevant Ministry secretary.
It has been reported that the Sri Lanka Administrative Service had vehemently opposed the assignment of the surcharge to the Auditor General.
The enactment of the National Audi Bill is one of the key election promises made by the government during President Sirisena's 100-day program in 2015 to crackdown on corruption in state institutions and increase transparency.
Establishment of the National Audit Service Commission under the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, which set up Independent Commissions, is being delayed due to the delay in passing the National Audit Act.