Business Times

Tough laws to rein in errant Treasury officials

Sri Lanka is introducing tough new laws to hold all ranks of Treasury officials accountable with penalties and possible jail terms if guilty of fraud or misappropriation. This is through the proposed Public Finance Act which will also include new Financial Regulations to be introduced in April, replacing the existing regulations introduced by the British colonial administration.

Finance Ministry sources said a new Audit Act is also to be introduced which would specify the duties, powers and responsibilities of the Auditor General and also provide safeguards for his financial and administrative independence from the Executive - both political and official, these sources said. Treasury Secretary Dr. P.B. Jayasundera referred to the proposed new Public Finance Bill at a recent public meeting but didn't give details. The current regulations provide for the Finance Minister to give directions to the Secretary and other officials. The Financial Regulations were originally made in the context of a colonial administration where all power was effectively exercised by the three Secretaries - the Financial Secretary, the Legal Secretary and the Presidential Secretary,

The Secretary to the Finance Ministry is the Chief Accounting Officer under the current regulations. But the dynamics of public administration have changed over the years since independence and the Secretary is today an appointee of the Minister.

He is obliged to the Minister for his appointment and is bound to follow his oral instructions and guidance. Ministers however are not bound to follow the Financial Regulations and hence this situation no longer provides for financial righteousness in the affairs of government, the Finance Ministry sources said.

The proposed Public Finance Act draws on the practices of other democratic countries, where those who commit financial mis-appropriation, fraud and irregularities will be accountable in law and not merely administratively as under the present Financial Regulations.

The category of officials to be included in the rules include officials, directors and chairpersons of corporation and state agencies. Such an Act would also clarify the accountability relationship of the Secretary and the Minister, the sources said. Government procurement process and documentation will also be changed.

The sources said the proposed regulations will remove bottlenecks and time-consuming procedures and documentation when especially handling development projects. Tender procedure and tender documents will be simplified making it easy for the officials to award tenders for contractors, they said.
The draft Public Finance Act is now before the Legal Draftsman. A special clause on accountability will be included in the bill providing provisions to take legal action and to punish those who engage in financial misappropriations.

Details of the penalties and jail terms were not immediately available.

Top to the page  |  E-mail  |  views[1]
SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend
Other Business Times Articles
Tough laws to rein in errant Treasury officials
Deadline issues, gaps in agreement raised at pre-bid Mattala airport meeting
SEC to regulate public listing thro' introductions
Foreign workers in key development projects
Modern hospital at Lanka Tractors land
'Private channelled practice' discussion at the STBC
Mattala airport taking off
Comment - Tackling donors and development partners
Sri Lanka: Call for market-determined energy regime and a flexible currency
'SL's first ever online eBook store' launche
Mackwoods Energy Ltd goes public, offers 25 mln shares
Innovative teachers, student winners in Microsoft Competition honoured
Ambitious? Hameedia plans to produce India's top Madura brand for Indian market
Daimler-Benz AG eyes future prospects in Sri Lanka
SLT records Rs 4.8 bln profit for 2011
Dialog solutions help Sri Lanka's Southern Expressway operations
Sri Lankan dairy equipment company takes India by storm
Fuel hike hurts tourism revenue
More than 700 foreign delegates for Sri Lanka Expo 2012
First bilingual investment research unit to combat biased research
Pathirage chairs NDB-led CDIC under new strategic direction
Brandix comes on board at University of Kelaniya
Mobitel launches special package for migrant workers
Asia Pacific Consulting Engineers meet in Colombo
Dialog takes Rs 638 million hit from December devaluation
Positive market amidst new system screw-up
BT Poll: Brokers, investors in favour of ban on insider trading
Shangri-La foresees immense tourism potential in Sri Lanka
K. Sivagananathan Memorial Trust oration on March 5
Access Engineering bullish on property development
Sri Lanka's street lights become a burden for the Treasury
Facebook or '$FB' by the numbers
Business Process Automation workshop held
IBM showcases its Smarter Computing solutions in SL takes its deals beyond Colombo
Hutch offers SMS banking
Wither Central Bank credibility?
Calls for a monitoring mechanism for the EPF
30th Annual Architects' exhibition held this week
LAUGFS makes strategic investment in leisure sector
Surath re-elected President of the CCI
Sri Lanka refuses to ‘dance to the tune’ of foreign development partners
Richlife Dairies take-over by Renuka Group lifts company


Reproduction of articles permitted when used without any alterations to contents and a link to the source page.
© Copyright 1996 - 2012 | Wijeya Newspapers Ltd.Colombo. Sri Lanka. All Rights Reserved | Site best viewed in IE ver 8.0 @ 1024 x 768 resolution