Despite the public perception of former Secretary to the Ministry of Defence Gotabaya Rajapaksa being an excellent administrator and a manager, the Committee on Public Accounts report that was released few days ago has revealed otherwise.
Although his arbitrary decision making within the Ministry of Defence and Urban Development is well known among most, the public perceived him as an excellent public servant – a ‘go-getter’ who could ‘get things done’. This was a fact that even he himself boasts of, as evidenced by his recent interview with Daily Mirror where he has stated that ‘no one will be able to replace him’.
However the CoPA Report on the Ministry of Defence and Urban Development has painted a completely different picture, where several administrative failings of the Ministry and its lack of cooperation with the Auditor General on certain accounts has been listed as major issues within the institution.
Following have been listed as major issues seen within the Ministry during the period from 17 January 2012 to 25 October 2012.
-The Corporate Plan and Action Plan for the years 2005 to 2012 has not been prepared and the Annual Performance Reports from 2005 to 2011 had not been tabled in the parliament
-The Committee has stressed that most of the queries in the Auditor General’s report could have been avoided if there had been prior discussion between the AG and the Ministry officials
-Un-recovered loan balances from employees
-Revenue generated from the taxes levied on the firearms and other explosives had gone into arrears
-The Committee had also raised an issue on the mobilization of uniform staff who were disabled and were engaged in clerical work and lift operating etc in the Ministry, and had noted that in order to keep them, they would have to be appointed in permanent basis
“I am a dedicated government servant. I have done so much and I can tell without any fear or uncertainty, that no one will be able to replace me. I challenge anyone, try and replace my commitment, my hard work and my vision – no one can.” Gotabaya told Daily Mirror.
Moving the report, CoPA Chairman Dr. Sarath Amunugama said that accountability lay at the heart of good governance.
“In a democracy the Parliament represents the people, and the Government irrespective of the political system is accountable to the Parliament. The control over public finance is vested in the Parliament by Section 148 of the Constitution, which is now in operation. The COPA is the most significant arm of executing this power as an oversight committee. However, what we have is a post-fact analysis system,” he said.
“It is better if the Auditor General and the respective Secretaries resolve these prior to putting it in the final report, which we work on. I congratulate the Government on proposing a new accounting policy Act,” he added.