AG notes Finance Ministry understating value of Treasury bonds by Rs. 500 bn

By Shyam Nuwan Ganewatte and Sarath Dharmasena

Auditor General Gamini Wijesinghe, testifying before the Presidential Commission of Inquiry probing the alleged bond scam, yesterday, said that he hadn’t expressed his opinion as Auditor General on the 2016 state accounts prepared by the Finance Ministry.

He told the Commission that he had mentioned it in his Audit Report.

In the statement of accounts prepared by the Finance Ministry, the value of treasury bonds had been understated by about Rs. 500 billion, the Auditor General said, adding that though the Central bank had reported the face value of the treasury bonds, the Finance Ministry had accounted it on a discounted rate and hence there was a difference.

He said the lapse had been there the previous year as well. Although he had repeatedly advised the Fiance Ministry to rectify the mistake, it continued in the same fashion and that demonstrated it did not adhere to the accepted audit principles.

Commission Chairman Justice K. T. Chithrasiri: If it is mentioned in the Finance Ministry audit report, hasn’t it been changed?

Auditor General: Although they were informed of it, they have not changed it. Hence, I rejected last year’s accounts prepared by the Finance Ministry. This year I handed over the report, saying that an audit statement cannot be expressed. The Finance Ministry, too, prepares a balance sheet. As we cannot accept the figures given in the Finance Ministry report we rejected it.

Additional Solicitor General Priyantha Nawana led evidence of the Auditor General.

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