Shocking fraud by former BOI official
It was shocking to read your news item titled ‘Massive fraud by former BOI official’. What is shocking is that the fraud was committed in June 2005 and discovered only in October 2006. What kind of accounting system and controls does the BOI have that it took so long to discover a fraud this huge.
With all the advanced IT systems available, one can only conclude that the BOI doesn’t have the managers who are capable of making decisions that the computer system produces at electronic speed or too lazy to investigate information or the parties are acting in collusion! Rs. 9.8 million surely, should raise the eyebrows even of a junior cashier! Frauds can and will take place in any organization.
It is to minimize this occurring that well thought out accounting systems with built in controls are installed. There is no substitute for this.
A few weeks ago, The Sunday Times highlighted the irregularities and alleged frauds published by the COPE chairman Wijedasa Rajapakse MP.
We were looking forward to the parliamentary debate of this report, but it simply fizzled out with no action.
This is because the report is compiled, I believe from the reports sent in by the Auditor General after completing the audit of the institutions that come under the jurisdiction of COPE.
This takes perhaps even three to four years after the submission of the final accounts by the institution concerned.
Hence the Wijedasa Rajapakse report should have mentioned that the report is in respect of a particular year.
The public may have got agitated that all these frauds and misdemeanors have taken place in this last year! This as a report for action is of little value, because the incidents have taken place so many years ago and is an attempt to ‘close the stable doors after the horse has bolted’!
What COPE can however do, is to instruct the Auditor General to carry out interim audits of all government institutions and notify COPE through Interim Audit Reports to enable COPE to investigate almost immediately any irregularities and take whatever action available to them. The same procedure should apply where the audit is done by auditors from the private sector.
P. S. Mahawatte