By Mahinda Rajapaksa –
The opposition has been trying to propagate the idea that the Auditor General’s powers would be reduced by the proposed 20th Amendment. It’s seldom that the Constitutional provisions regarding the Auditor General comes to the attention of the public. This has made it easier for the opposition to propagate various falsehoods in this connection.
One of the false claims being made is that the 19th Amendment set up an Audit Commission and that the 20th Amendment seeks to abolish it. What the 19th Amendment made provision for was not an Audit Commission but only an Audit Service Commission. The Audit Service Commission does not carry out any auditing functions. It handles matters like the appointment, promotion, transfer and disciplinary control of members of the State Audit Service. Usually such matters pertaining to government servants are dealt with by the Public Service Commission. All that the creation of the Audit Service Commission achieved was to set up yet another Commission to do the work that was being done by the Public Service Commission.
Another false claim being made by the opposition is that the 20th Amendment seeks to remove the Presidential Secretariat and the Office of the Prime Minister from the purview of the Auditor General. From the very inception of the 1978 Constitution, the Presidential Secretariat and the Prime Minister’s Office have been under the purview of the Auditor General. The phrase “all departments of government” in Article 154(1) of the pre-19th Amendment Constitution brought the Presidential Secretariat and the Prime Minister’s Office under the purview of the Auditor General. These institutions were always listed as government departments in the Government Financial Regulations. Quite apart from these two institutions, even the Office of Former Presidents is listed as a separate government department and all these institutions were always audited by the Auditor General.
The inclusion of the Presidential Secretariat and the Office of the Prime Minister by name in Article 154(1), by the 19th Amendment did not achieve anything new. Even though they may have not been specifically mentioned by name, from the very inception of the 1978 Constitution, the Presidential Secretariat and Prime Ministers Office had always been under the purview of the Auditor General. Even after the 20th Amendment reinstates the old article 154(1) which existed from the inception of the 1978 Constitution, in place of the so called ‘changes’ made by the 19th Amendment, the Presidential Secretariat and the Prime Minister’s Office will continue to remain within the purview of the Auditor General. Over the past decades, it’s the Auditor General who audited the Presidential Secretariat and the Prime Minister’s Office and not some private audit firm.
Another falsehood that’s being propagated is that state owned companies will be removed from the purview of the Auditor General by the 20th Amendment. The auditing of state corporations and state owned companies (i.e. companies in which the state owns more than 50% of the shares) comes under Article 154(2) of the Constitution. Under the provisions of Article 154(2), the minister in charge of the subject can assign the auditing of a state corporation or a state owned company to a qualified audit firm. However before doing so, he is mandatorily required to obtain the concurrence of the Finance Minister and also to consult the Auditor General. After the minister in charge of the subject assigns the auditing of a state corporation or a state owned company to an audit firm in this manner, the Auditor General can issue a written notice to that audit firm informing them that he proposes to utilize their services for the performance and discharge of the Auditor-General’s duties in relation to that state corporation or state owned company, and thereupon that audit firm is mandatorily required to act under the direction and control of the Auditor-General.
The content of Article 154(2) which existed from the inception of the 1978 Constitution, was not changed by the 19th Amendment. The content of Article 154(2) will not change under the 20th Amendment either. Therefore it can be said that the content of Article 154(2) has remained the same from the inception of the 1978 Constitution and will continue to remain so in the future as well. Hence the claim that state owned companies are to be taken out of the purview of the Auditor General, is a complete falsehood.
It is also being claimed by opposition propagandists that the 19th Amendment had stipulated that the Auditor General should be a ‘qualified auditor’ and that when the 20th Amendment reinstates the old pre-19th Amendment Article 153(1) this qualification requirement will be dropped and hence, after the 20th Amendment is passed, even an unqualified person can be appointed as Auditor General. Constitutions are written on the assumption that those reading it will have basic common sense. The Constitution does not state anywhere that the person appointed as Attorney General or as a Supreme Court judge has to be a qualified lawyer. But those appointed as Attorney General, Auditor General or a Supreme Court judge will always have the required educational and professional qualifications without which they cannot function in those positions.
All that the 20th Amendment seeks to do is to replace the changes made to the provisions relating to the Auditor General by the 19th Amendment with the provisions that existed before the 19th Amendment. The opposition has been unhesitatingly uttering every lie that comes to mind with regard to this matter because of the confidence that most people would not be familiar with these obscure provisions of the Constitution. Its our duty to understand the facts of the matter and to defeat the unprincipled attempt being made by the opposition to mislead the people.
*Mahinda Rajapaksa, Prime Minister
leelagemalli / October 4, 2020
Tom pachaya of the nation would never see it because he does not care much about the danger before the nation. If he and his cabinet care much about the nation, what have they achieved for the benefit of the masses during last 10 months. They make every effort to capitalize so calle dCOVID successes making the people even fooler… but the very same audience would not stay that stupid forever.
Besides, the country is in a mess today, curse to this guy and his politics. So called chinese development projects were tied to srilanka under the MR misadminstration from 2005-2015. As a result any govt succeeded to has to take more loans to gap the wastages deliberately made by this guy and his bunch of robbers.
Yet today they have failed to find investors to fully function Mattala Airport. That is the same with other so called gigantic projects. But tax payers have to pay their taxes bearing all the loads created by this rascals and their men.
Like or not collossal sums have to be paid off to CHINA and other investors by sending at least 50% of srilanken population from pan to the fire. In the months to come, these bitch s sons would not achieve anything for the benefit of the country.
Ajith / October 4, 2020
Not only Auditor General’s power but the power of PM, Parliament and Judiciary are now under a Single person Gotabaya, former American citizen. This amendment is to bring back another American and to make sure President gets his dual citizenship.
Sugandh / October 5, 2020
MR has clearly attempted to hoodwink the readers, and surely in regards to 20A giving President the authority to appoint an Auditor General at his whim.
“ The inclusion of the Presidential Secretariat and the Office of the Prime Minister by name in Article 154(1), by the 19th Amendment …”
MR knows that this aspect of 19A came about following his corrupt presidency, in order to absolutely ensure that the presidential secretariat and the office of the PM weren’t exempt from accountability.
leelagemalli / October 5, 2020
MR knows very well majority of people in this country are punnakku drinkers.
So that is why he has the temerity to repeat his kind of EVASIVE statements postulating that people are stupid as no other negibouring nations.
See, what have achieved during the last 10 months. As of today, these men have twisted almost everything but in favour of their political survival.
Now sofar, they made every effort to capitalize the lower COVID death rate, but with effect from YESTERDAY rapidly increasing numbers are reported. That was the reason why they imposed CURFEW again.
Sugandh / October 6, 2020
AG Dappula De Livera is also playing the same tune to the Supreme court. After all the explanations the AG has offered and his warranties that pretty much 20A is not much different from 19A, seemed to me there’s no point in 20A except for allowing dual citizens to serve in the parliament (to the benefit of Basil)
Colombopage has reported on the AG’s explanations in detail.
A total hogwash from the PM, the President, and the AG when they’re trying so darn hard to sell 20A while claiming it’s pretty much the same as 19A.
Are we to trust that this president, the PM, and the governing party understand the begging priorities of this country?
MyView / October 4, 2020
How hypocritical can you be when you say ” to defeat the unprincipled attempt being made by the opposition to mislead the people.”
During the last election you and your sycophants lied about everything from saying the MCC will lead to taking a visa to go to Anuradhapura to exaggerating figures on the cost of living. Now no talk on these same matters and you have brought 20A just as a diversion to distract us from the real problems now lingering. Kohomada, Sepada.
leelagemalli / October 5, 2020
demented PM went on saying ” dan sapadha, are u happy” at the time, COCONUT PRICES went up for shorter period, during previous govt. But the shameless grabbing the power by every means, today are speechless or they dont let MEDIA to telecast the truths about today s upside situation. Prices of daily needs have gone up by 60%- 150% during the last 10 months. They make every effort to interpret it due to COVID restrictions, but the truth as it is, TODAY there is nothing that went upside due to lack of proper management. This SAIBABA and his family run a luxury life style thanks to the loot taken from tax payers. If they would cut their expenses to all lower levels, those who live under trees (30% of population) would have gotten their basics needs.
I dont have a faith on any beliefs today, when looking at the manner DIVINE forces seem to do nothing on the HIGH IGNORANCES being paid by these rascals after grabing the power.
I simply wish the situation would have been in favour of PEOPLE (those who are really in need) but the truth is nothing seem to turn for the betterment of the nation but for their fun. People are searching for help for their day today struggles.
With COVID infections go up, things could worsen in the days to come. If Karma would work on them first before the people, this nation would have a better life for sure.
Simon / October 5, 2020
Mr. Mahinda Rajapakse: In your essay, you say: “Constitutions are written on the “ASSUMPTION” (emphasis by me) that those reading it will have basic common sense”. In October 2018, the then President and you got together and exercised that “Common Sense” and “DISMISSED” the then Prime Minister and appointed you as “PM” together with a “Brand New” cabinet. That “Common Sense” was challenged in the highest Courts of the country (SC) and the Bench of Judges numbering seven “UNANIMOUSLY” decreed that “Common Sense” exercised was “WRONG” and “ULTR VIRES” the provisions of the Constitutions. So whose “Common Sense” overtook the then President and you? What if, that provision was not in the Constitution and left to be a “Common Sense” adjudication of a “FEW” (one or more) who could and would “GANG” up and take over the functions of the Government and the State? If you could answer these questions and many more connected with that statement you stated SINCERELY and HONEST to your heart, you would definitely see the DANGERS that a country would be facing, as and when the Constitutions are left to be read on the basis of “Common Sense”. I know, you being a seasoned politician knows that “Danger”; but not the “PROFESSORS” who write these articles for you and release such to the public in your name.
GATAM / October 5, 2020
Help Hambantota fraud 2005!
MIG fraud 2007!
Divi Neguma fraud 2013!
No one believes you Mahinda and your family. People have a thing called memory though you don’t.
A fraudster talking about audit is most hilarious! Rest in peace Mahinda!
leelagemalli / October 8, 2020
No such frauds are defined under criminal leadership. So was it like under Gadafi led Libya until the family s faith ended up being murdered and thrown to a drain. One day near future the our people will have to see it inevitably happening in or country as one another god punished land of fools.????????????☺️
Good Sense / October 5, 2020
My Dear Percy, why did you take such a long time to give this response? Were you sleeping? Now, it is true that in countries where decency prevails you don’t specify qualifications because an unqualified people cannot do the job and appointers are decent to appoint the right man for the right job. DOES SRI LANKA QUALIFY FOR THAT? Be sensible. There are serious loopholes anomalies and redundancies in the Constitution with all its 19 amendments. You do not have to rush like having a quicky in a house of ill fame. (Of Course, Astrologers might say so). Take the appropriate time (NO DELAYS) do a nice clean draft. There is no harm in specifying the minimum qualifications and disqualifications as done for some positions. It is not a loss of face to do that. Further, it is necessary to rope in specifically the companies where the Government share is over 50%. Rogues in such companies resist the Auditor General saying that they are bound by the companies act. In the past (during your time of presidency) even the AG Department was silent when this problem was put to them. Percy, in some respects you are right not all.
Ad / October 5, 2020
Lies lies and damn lies.
MyView / October 5, 2020
Further today Keheliya the Goebbelisian liar on your account, says Rishard B’s bro released by courts but he was released by CID saying no further case – not by the Magistrate after inquiry. Your govt held him for 5 months during election time. See Derana Breaking News Video.
Thiagarajah Venugopal / October 5, 2020
Dear Hon PM Thank you for the clarity and the GOSL rational against the accusations.
We look forward to the Day Our Excellency President and your goodselfs putting all the elected MP’s on the spot by asking them to regularly present/update/progress report all their action list agreed with their respective constituents through open and transparent consultations.
Ask them to report their actions/trouble shooting/risk analysis each and every issue to be addressed to their constituents and the support the system gives them through respective institutions/departments/expert adivise to fulfil their job scope. this need to be Gazzeted on a monthly basis as the reporting should be monthly your Honour.
Without this we can not Nation build as we are looking forward to a functional/orderly/transparent/qualified bunch of elected irrespective of their party politics congregate to serve the people please. Should anyone fail this progress reporting should be disqualified form their position as an MP and an immediate reelection be held please.
There should be GOSL agent monitoring the MP’s surgeries for unbiased service to the people as the elected is there to serve all without prejudice my Honour.
SJ / October 6, 2020
When I read you, I wonder how much out of touch can one be with reality.
Thiagarajah Venugopal / October 7, 2020
Appreciate your observation and feedback always.
Thiagarajah Venugopal / October 7, 2020
The future – all the parties who are about the constituents wellbeing/Nation at large can give up minority status/dismantle themselves their ghetto religious and language political parties and come up with National Policies everyone can join irrespective of their creed and colour as members to voice their concerns/form credible opposition to ensure checks and balance in a democracy. This will also set president for others to change as not only the historical racism need to go but also the war wounds for all need to heal as well.
I do not have any favourites but choose better of whatever is presented naturally. So many has done the same hence the current GOSL and always respect the elected.
Alternate – out of time parties talking out of time concepts that has been proven a complete failure. I am a Muslim/Hindu/Buddishts/Christian/Tamil/Sinhalese all has to go…..and the journey has to start somewhere period.
Join the JVP/UNP/SJV as even the upcountry Tamils have to loose their Indian identity too……change has to be from everyone moving forward.
All my comments are from that prospective only as I have no favourites for all the right reasons……looking for that oneness coming from everyone.
We have focused on all the “bad and ugly” and let down the “good” in each community and delivered nothing. Time for change.
Thiagarajah Venugopal / October 7, 2020
This is what I learned from my up bringing in SL and the world at large in 57 years having extensively travelled and seen the world with millions of problems.
I realise it is not the governments that has failed us we failed ourselves mostly made all the difference between success and failures.
I always like to think I will evaluate and vote for any party based on the needs of the time and the relevance that can field candidate throughout the land because the party has something to offer for all not just the few period. Never support anything self pity themselves/personal egos and create ghettos are an insult to human dignity and manhood. It is worth dying for such concept as suppose to the other??. This way we create something that is more sustainable for generations to come.
Thiagarajah Venugopal / October 5, 2020
My Honour please revisit the invitation you lovingly made during the post war planning for all the Diaspora to return home with their wealth of knowledge and “Families” to their land of their birth to serve the Nation please. This applies to tamils and Sinhalese. Please send a reporting team to each and every door step of the Diaspora around the world who left the Nation sighting troubles in SL and record/broadcast live their reasons for not returning home to rebuild the Nation?? It has to be the young and able for the intellectual input to Institutions as well as willing to wash toilets in SL patriotically/not demanding things that is not available to fellow man but can work to make it available to themselves and their Nation mindset….we can run training centres for the reintegration of those who are only familiar with the western way of life that came about without having to do the ultimate sacrifices we asked our now perished children…this is the only way to remember and pay respect to all the Mother Lankan Children Died since the Independence. Not the photos/candles/poojas/photo opportunities are of no relevance??
Rajash / October 5, 2020
“Constitutions are written on the assumption that those reading it will have basic common sense”
oh ok constitution is for reading like a bedside story?
No one is supposed to interpret it or act on it
so why make all these changes.
Rajash / October 5, 2020
PM”…. even an unqualified person can be appointed as Auditor General”
PM “The Constitution does not state anywhere that the person appointed as Attorney General or as a Supreme Court judge has to be a qualified lawyer.”
The constitution doesn’t state that Auditor General or the Attorney General need to have common sense either.
any Dumbo can be appointed to these positions ….as is the case now
Champa / October 5, 2020
I don’t think people have to listen to the “opposition” to understand what comes next with the 20A.
Although the government tries to imply that the 20A is nothing but going back to 1978, it is not true.
The 20A is all about 3 major exclusions and exemptions, as follows, for the benefit of Rajapaksas, the USA and India;
1) The exclusion of the unitary sovereign state of Sri Lanka
2) The exclusion of the obstacle for dual citizens to contest or nominate to the Legislature or the Executive
3) The exemption from government audit granted to exclusively selected government corporations
It is no secret that the “cash strapped-debt ridden” government’s last resort is the MCC grant.
Given the past performances of the Rajapaksa brothers, this grant will be utilized for the sole benefit of the Rajapaksas. They will appoint their family and relatives to the audit-exempted government institutions and the entire MCC grant will be handled by the Rajapaksa clan.
What is dangerous in the 20A is the exclusion of the unitary sovereign state of Sri Lanka which will allow the President to permanently allocate state/archaeological lands to American, Indian companies, thus making mini American and Indian “colonies” in every part of the country, undermining Sri Lanka’s sovereignty, jurisdiction, land, and fiscal rights.
Champa / October 5, 2020
The President and the government have created a “sudden Covid-19 fear” with an aim to impose curfews, lockdowns and people and media centered restrictions to pass the 20th Amendment without an obstacle, which is a direct violation of the sovereignty of the people.
The 20th Amendment will bar all freedoms of the country.
Sri Lanka has already experienced state terror during the 2010-2015 era under Gotabhaya as the Defence Secretary. This is even beyond that.
In order to make fraudulent ownership, Rajapaksa cohorts are causing immeasurable destruction to state and archaeological lands, reserved forests and wetlands, which is connected to MCC grant as over 80% of the lands in Sri Lanka owned by the State.
Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa’s support to the 20th Amendment is a shameful breach of trust.
He has no right to go against people’s wishes and help his brothers to make Sri Lanka an American and Indian colony.
Mallaiyuran / October 6, 2020
Educated, erudite imbecile Education Minister & accused War Criminal, Finance minister are bringing this matter to CT while this decision is pending in Court. This part is GLP should have been present in court and said there. Cowardice GLP scared to to see PC lawyers in Supreme Court so coming here. He is a person never wore even an Amude in public. If the audit provisions will not be affected by 20A,why mention about that in 20A? Choliyan Kudumpi Summa Aadathu. Certainly the new version going to pull the wool on the eyes of Sinhala Buddhist Modayas, so they can deposit another $18B in foreign Banks accounts.
Prime Minister Appointed a committee to review the bill and Finance Minister led the committee. They both are are parties to this essay. Can I see the report the committee appointed to review 20A, produced? Just Jilmart 24/7 for the Modayas.