The Committee on Public Accounts (COPA) yesterday directed the Ministry of Provincial Councils and Local Government Affairs to formulate a generally accepted system for administrative matters including recruitment, allowances and use of vehicles in local authorities.
The Committee informed the Secretary to the Ministry of Provincial Councils and Local Government Affairs, N.H.M Chithrananda, that the relevant General Procedure should be prepared and submitted to the COPA within three months.
The Committee chaired by Prof. Tissa Vitarana examined the Auditor General’s Reports and Current Performance of the Kurunegala Municipal Council.
Ministers and Members of Parliament who participated in this Committee pointed out that the administration of certain local authorities are irregular and a new programme should be implemented in order to streamline this process.
Members of the committee State Ministers Lasantha Alagiyawanna, Prasanna Ranaweera, Sudarshani Punandupulle, Dayasiri Jayasekara, Members of Parliament D.Y.G Ratnasekera, Dr. Upul Galappaththi, Weerasumana Weerasinghe, Ashok Abeysinghe, Tissa Attanayake, Niroshan Perera, Kader Masthan, Dr Harini Amarasuriya and government officials were present at this meeting.
The Committee drew special attention to the procurement that has been done by Kurunegala Municipal Council to purchased 221,173 polysack bags of four types from a fake institution at a cost of Rs. 6,520,089 against procurement guidelines. The Committee also questioned, even though the cheque should have been written in the name of the institution but in the name of an individual. The Committee also recommended to conduct an inquiry at the ministry level in this regard and submit a report to the committee expeditiously. The Committee also directed the Ministry to obtain a representation from the National Audit Office for this Committee of Inquiry.
The Committee questioned the Kurunegala Mayor regarding the fact that Rs. 7,800,000 has already been spent from the Municipal Council fund for the case regarding the demolition of the building where the Buwaneka Hotel is located without proper approval. The Mayor informed the Committee that the relevant approvals had been obtained for the expenditure. As the Archaeological Department has taken legal action against this incident, it was decided at the Committee to discuss further matters after the completion of this legal process.
The Committee also noted that although four Audit and Management Committees were to be held annually, not a single Committee meeting was held in 2020. One Audit and Management Committee Meeting was held for the year 2018 and two Audit and Management Committee Meetings were held in the year 2019. The Committee directed to hold such meetings expeditiously and to streamline the proceedings of the Municipal Council.
The Committee also noted the failure to prepare an action plan and a procurement plan for the Kurunegala Municipal Council and directed the Municipal Commissioner to take immediate action in this regard.