Millions unpaid, unaccounted for in President’s Fund: Auditor Gen. Report

No action by Attorney Gen. to recover dues
By Chandani Kirinde

The President’s Fund has been slow in reimbursing medical assistance to patients, even in instances where the directive to expedite such payments came from President Mahinda Rajapaksa, the Auditor General (AG) has revealed.

“Despite the President’s orders to reimburse medical assistance amounting to over Rs 184 million for 1196 patients up to December 2009, payments had not been made to them, the AG’s report tabled in Parliament last week said.

The report also revealed that although Rs 580,000 had been sent to the Fund between September 2006 and July 2009 by the Ministry of Social Welfare for the payment of medical assistance to 32 patients, the money had not been paid up to March 31, 2010.

The AG also found evidence lacking for audit in two instances relating to the payment of medical assistance. In one instance, there were no receipts relating to 13 paid vouchers to the value of Rs 11, 530,940, while in another instance, 11 files pertaining to the payment of around two million rupees were not available.

The AG also found that there has been noncompliance with laws, rules, regulations and management decisions in relation to the expenditure of an amount of over Rs 678 million by the Fund, which included the payment of over Rs 654 million as medical assistance, over Rs 9 million for cultural affairs and over Rs 5 million for religious activities.

The report said the operation of the Fund had resulted in an excess of expenditure over income for 2009. However, the Rs 2.4 million excess expenditure was a sharp drop from 2008’s figure which was over Rs 171 million.

The AG’s report also highlighted an instance where more than Rs 195 million due from the National Housing Development Authority was shown as investment but the money had been granted as a loan on an annual interest rate of 15%. After the receipt of installments in 1996, the rest of the payments were in arrears up to even March 21, 2010. The outstanding interest on this loan has accumulated to over Rs 169 million.

The report added that the matter has been referred to the Attorney General for legal action to recover the dues, but no such action had been initiated even up to April, 2010.

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