Sri Lanka’s Auditor General acted unprofessionally: Finance Minister

Jan 25, 2017 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake today accused the Auditor General of releasing a confidential report to COPE without his knowledge.

On the 19th August 2016, the Finance Minister had requested a special report from the Auditor General under section 43 (2) of the Monetary Law Act, within a period of 3 months.

The report relates to books of Central Bank on direct private placements in government securities since 2008. The volumes contain a large pool of individual information as well as details of issuances of government securities which are considered highly market sensitive.

JVP Parliamentarian Bimal Rathnayake, during the bond debate yesterday, quoted information from the report received through the COPE chairman.

Rathnayake said from 2008 onwards the Central Bank had often used private placements. He said 57 percent of the time it had proven profitable to the government.

The Finance Minister told Parliament that by sending a copy to COPE, the Auditor General has breached the information confidentiality requirement and relevant procedure.

“This examination contains findings strictly for my use for the purpose of making new polices with respect to the issuances of securities and public debt management,” Karunanayake said.

“I’m of the view that the Auditor General has breached the information confidentiality requirement and relevant procedure.”

He said the leakage of this information will adversely effect the government security market operations and interest rates in the economy and will raise the cost of borrowings.

“These are not matters that should be taken lightly and I hold everybody to take responsibility if the cost of capital goes up.”

Karunanayake further said that he has not instructed any body to receive a copy.

“Information that I have asked revealed to somebody outside without even my knowledge is something serious, unprofessional and not like the Auditor Generals that have acted in the past,” he said.

“I propose that the Attorney General has acted unprofessionally and unofficially without due care of public duties.”