Rights group concerned about Sri Lanka audit chief

Mar. 23(AFP) – The Asian Human Rights Commission Thursday said it was “gravely concerned” at public criticism of Sri Lanka’s audit chief who has exposed government corruption including mishandling of tsunami relief aid. The Hong Kong-based rights group in a statement said the organisation had asked President Mahinda Rajapakse to prevent any attempts to undermine the official.

Auditor General Sarath Mayadunne has been exposing corruption as well as wasteful spending at state institutions, including the handling of millions of dollars in foreign aid for tsunami victims.

“The attacks have come in response to several critical reports published by the auditor general recently regarding the financial management of state institutions,” the rights panel said.

Sri Lanka’s Finance Secretary P.B. Jayasundera, who himself had been named in an audit report, had publicly criticised the auditor general.

The finance ministry chief said in a weekend newspaper article that state audits were “discouraging the public sector.”

The Asian Human Rights Commission said it wrote to Rajapakse complaining of the Jayasundera’s “negative approach towards the legal functioning of the auditor general.”

It also said: