Most universities fail to answer audit queries

by Dasun Edirisinghe

Most of the universities have not answered audit queries during the last few years. This had been noticed by the Parliamentary watchdog, the Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE).

Universities and Higher Educational Institutions, coming under the University Grants Commission (UGC) met the COPE during last three weeks.

Sources said that each university had an audit committee and they met at least four times a year to answer audit queries.

"The Peradeniya University did not answer 189 audit queries during the 2009 /2010 period," a high ranking official of the university sector told The Island on condition of anonymity.

He said that Sabaragamuwa University too, was badly exposed at the COPE hearing for ignoring audit queries.After the COPE advised the administrators of those universities on their responsibility, they were now correcting their grave lapses, he said. When contacted for comment, UGC Chairman Prof. Gamini Samaranayake said that there had to be accountability in universities as they dealt with public money.

He said that the financial auditing helped to mitigate waste and corruption, but, academic auditing was also very important for the universities.

"Universities in other countries, including those in India, had academic activities too under auditing," Prof. Samaranayake said.

He said that they wanted to establish good governance in the universities.

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