How is that State bureaucrats are free and ministers are questioned by Presidential Bond Comic-mission ?

(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 .

Finance secretary Dr. Samaratunge’s involvement …

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. 

Involvement  of Rafeek, secretary to ministry of National policy and economic affairs …

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 .

Involvement  of Ravindra Hewawitharana , secretary to ministry of State Enterprise Development …

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 Nila dharuwa 

by     (2017-10-13 14:50:33)

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