Auditing Blues

Mar 17, 2009 (LBO) – A new Sri Lankan national audit bill expected to be presented for legislative approval shortly will grant the government’s chief audit officer and his department greater autonomy, officials said. It will increase the powers of the Auditor General’s (AG) Department to clean up government departments with weak internal controls that will save billions of tax payer rupees, they said.

“We are fine tuning the bill, the final draft will be sent for treasury approval in two to three months,” said Auditor General S Swarnajothi.

The new bill will also make recruiting easier.

“Currently my hands are bound. I can’t even hire an office peon without getting approval from the salaries cadre commission and the public service commission. It takes months to get approval from them; sometimes over a year.”

Swarnajothi said the public service commission, which handles recruitment to government service, is the more difficult of the two due to repeated delays.

Swarnajothi said more autonomy will increase the department’s efficiency and make its work more transparent and clean.

Swarnajothi said the independent audit commission, when it comes into force, will be headed by a judge from t