Let’s not mix up illegalities with fraud or misuse of public funds

Friday, 2 September 2016 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

I refer to the news item about Gotabaya Rajapaksa who is alleged to have caused a large monetary loss of Rs. 11.4 billion to the State by setting up the floating armoury. It is necessary to identify clearly the actual loss not the value of the illegality.  The penalty for taking illegal deployment of public funds can be by way of surcharge.

The amount of the surcharge should be the actual monetary loss to public funds but if there has been a public benefit, then the value of such benefit should be deducted in computing the surcharge.So I suggest he be surcharged the value of the actual net loss to the public and only in the event of failure to pay the surcharge court action be taken to recover as a penalty.

The surcharge will have to be based on the actual loss to public funds and not for the entirety of the funds which have been expended without legal authority. Let us not mix up illegalities with fraud or misuse of public funds. The latter require proof whereas surcharge can be imposed for incurring public expenditure without due authority. I am afraid the authorities are confused between illegalities and fraud and being unrealistic.

R.M.B. Senanayake