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National Audit Commission to probe frauds uncovered by COPE


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Audit Commission Chairman Auditor General Gamini Wijesinghe, Commissioners former High Court Judge Sunil Rajapaksa, Deputy Auditor General V. Kandasamy, I.G. Gamini Abeyratne and former Ministry Secretary D. A. S. Perera and Acting Secretary General of Parliament Niel Iddawela with Speaker Karu Jayasuriya 

 

By Skandha Gunasekara

The newly appointed National Audit Commission will begin its task by investigating several major frauds that have been uncovered by the Committee on Public Enterprises.

Chairman of the Commission and current Auditor General Gamini Wijesinghe made these remarks soon after the swearing-in ceremony of the National Audit Commission.

“We will probe the coal-purchasing deal, the rice importation case, and many other cases that had come to COPE,” Wijesinghe said.

He said the auditing phase of the Central Bank Bond scam has been completed and that it was not up to the judiciary to give a verdict on the matter.

Wijesinghe went on to note that the purview and scope of the National Audit Commission was broad and that institutions which the Government had 50% indirect stake in could be inspected, and that the Commission would have the power to summon performance reports of Government institutes.

Speaker Karu Jayasuriya, who presided over the swearing-in ceremony, pointed out that corruption and waste of resources in the public sector could be mitigated by 25% through the National Audit Bill and Right to Information Act.

Nihal Sunil Rajapaksha, V. Kandasamy, W. A. S. Perera, and I. G. Abeyratne, together with Wijesinghe, were sworn-in as members of the National Audit Commission before the Speaker last evening.

The National Audit Commission was appointed as per the provisions of the National Audit Bill.


Government to set up special commission to oversee State sector salary changes

Minister of Finance Mangala Samaraweera told Parliament yesterday that the Government intends to establish a special commission to oversee salary increments of public servants, including employees of the Railway Department.

Taking part in yesterday’s Second Reading Debate on the Value-Added Tax (amendment) Bill, Minister Samaraweera said that President Maithripala Sirisena had requested that he prepare a Cabinet paper to set up a public service commission solely for the purpose of reviewing salaries and wages of State sector workers, adding that if the Government had increased the salaries of railway workers as demanded, there would have been problems in other State institutes.

“If the increment is granted as per the demands of the railway workers, their salary scales would have been above the salary grades of doctors, principals and school teachers. Therefore, I opposed at the Cabinet meeting to give the salary increment demanded by railway workers. It is very unfair for the railway workers to demand a pay hike only for them while the Government was preparing to bring about a mechanism to give salary increments to all public sector workers,” the Minister said.

Further, the Minister, speaking on behalf of the Government, expressed his regret for the inconvenience endured by commuters who faced difficulties due to the sudden strike launched by the railway workers.


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