No proper audit of courts: AG
Auditor General Sembakuttige Swarnajothi said yesterday he was aware of there being no satisfactory auditing mechanism in Sri Lanka’s court system.
“My department does not audit expenses in the court system or the Justice Ministry but I advice them on issues that should be handled by the Auditor General’s Department. Auditing the court system is usually done by the Justice Ministry’s internal auditor. I do not recall the Ministry referring any audit problem to my department recently,” Mr. Swarnajothi said.
He said his attention had been drawn to several incidents of discrepancies with regard to court productions and bail deposits when comparing them with court reports.
Mr. Swarnajothi underlined the necessity to have an effective auditing system for the courts in Sri Lanka because they handled public money.
Meanwhile, a Justice Ministry spokesman said the country’s courts system lacked transparency the process from primary courts to the higher courts did not carry out a proper audit.
The Committee appointed by Justice Minister Milinda Moragoda to consider the “Administration of Justice in the North and East,” had found that the finances of Jaffna’s Magistrates Courts and High courts had not been audited for the past 30 years.
The committee secretary Pumanthi Peiris who is also a Senior Additional Secretary at the Justice Ministry told Daily Mirror the Committee members were of the view that the government had to intervene immediately if it was to restore the administration of justice in the North with peace returning to the Province at the end of the war.
“Courts — the Magistrates and the High Courts — collect a huge income in the form of fines and bail deposits in addition to valuable court productions such as jewellery, timber, furniture, and electronic equipment. Hence, it is a priority that an efficient and up-to-date auditing system is maintained in courts,” a ministry official said. “There have been instances where magistrates have been convicted for misappropriation of court income.”
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