(Lanka-e-News - 13.Oct.2017, 8.00PM) The ‘campaign’ conducted under the name of Bond Commission ( Comic- mission) appointed by the president has by now created a situation owing to which the former minister of finance resigned , and two ministers Kabir Hashim and Malik Samarawickrema had to appear before it to record statements. This Comic mission has so far only demonstrated clearly its disequilibrium, since it has not summoned any secretary or responsible official of the ministries for inquiry.In the circumstances , the pertinent question raised by intelligent individuals who are impartial is , whether these omissions of the muddled up Comic mission is aimed at protecting a certain group of officials ?
So far the officials who were summoned for inquiry were : former Central bank Governor and the deputy governor of the Central bank , the chairmen and general managers of three state banks. Unbelievably , not a single secretary of a ministry had been summoned for questioning so far- this is not only rudely shocking but shrouded in a mystery .
According to the evidence of the chairmen of the banks, the former minister of finance requested them to make low bids during a discussion held at the finance ministry . Among those present at that discussion was the Finance ministry secretary Dr. R.H.S Samaratunge .
Though the subject of banking was under the ministry of State Enterprise Development , the official powers are vested with the finance minister and its official chief is the finance ministry secretary . Accordingly ,the decisions of the minister are conveyed officially to the Institutions by the ministry secretary Dr. Samaratunge . The secretary however is not bound to implement every misdirection of the minister, and it is the bounden duty of the secretary to discuss with the minister if there are such issues , point out the errors and resolve those .
Ministry’s main statistics and data are provided by the ministry secretary . Hence it is the secretary who is responsible to the parliamentary committee regarding State finance. In the circumstances , the chief administrator of the Bank is not obliged to abide by the oral instructions given by the minister to make low bids because they must only follow instructions issued by the secretary under his signature. Yet the presidential Comic mission appointed to inquire into the treasury bonds has not considered that aspect.
If there had been any flaws or faults on the part of the finance ministry , obviously it is the secretary of the ministry who is directly responsible and answerable.
M.I.M. Rafeek the secretary of ministry of national policies and economic affairs is inescapably responsible in regard to the transaction . It is due to that reason the Central bank made the gazette notification under the ministry of national policy and economic affairs.
Therefore it can be deemed , it is his responsibility under the constitution to act after making necessary inquiries as regards all the Institutions coming under the purview of his ministry . It is the secretary of the relevant ministry who has the powers to monitor all the Institutions coming under it in conformity with the commands and control of the minister.
It is specially noteworthy that it is the Hon. Prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe who is in charge of that ministry . Therefore it is the responsibility of that ministry secretary to report to the minister after probing into the affairs of the Institutions under it. It is for the ministry secretary to intervene when it concerns such a transaction and take the necessary action to implement.
There is a view which should be got rid of in the government service, that is “follow a ‘shape’ agenda and wash the hands of it.” Therefore , it is important the secretary is subjected to questioning by the Commission , and if any wrong has been committed with regard to the transaction he should shoulder the responsibility .
Although the bank chiefs said the finance minister gave orders to make low bids , the State banks of the present government have made the State bank gazette notification under the State enterprise development ministry.
The ministry secretary is directly responsible when it concerns bank , and he is the main accounting officer regarding State’s finance before the parliamentary committee . Hence , the responsibility /accountability devolves on him. If he is to say ‘he does not know’ or ‘I am unaware ‘ , it means it is his weak administration ,and not an excuse permitting him to escape responsibility.
In an instance in which another ministry or secretary is intervening , the ministry secretaries are bound to seek advice from the President’s secretary or the Public Service Commission. If only the permission is granted for the third party to intervene in respect of that Institution , it becomes the responsibility of the secretary of that ministry to take measures in that direction.
Law must apply to those State officers. They cannot and should not be given an opportunity to disclaim responsibility by fastening that responsibility on the minister .If they can so disclaim responsibility then there is no need to appoint a ministry secretary .
The financial affairs of a ministry is the main responsibility of the secretary , and he being the chief his staff ought to function under him accordingly.
In a ministry ,the political chief is the minister and the administrative chief of the ministry is the secretary .The chief of a Department , or a Corporation or a Board is therefore answerable to the secretary and not the minister.
In those circumstances , it is the responsibility of the State official to deal with the people’s representatives , adjust the finances for government ‘s development programs and prevent frauds and corruption .
If any wrong comes to light any day , it is the State bureaucrat who will have to go to jail. He /she must therefore exercise extra caution and act with most care when placing his signature . He must also ensure he does that only when it is beneficial to the government .
by (2017-10-13 14:50:33)
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