Thursday May 24, 2018

Sri Lanka auditor general exposes chaotic accounting of government debt

Jun 03, 2017 06:33 AM GMT+0530 | 8 Comment(s)

ECONOMYNEXT - Sri Lanka's auditor general, who disclaimed accounts of the Finance Ministry has exposed chaotic accounting of debt running into tens of billions of rupees where inconsistent rules were applied and where some loans were completely ignored.

The auditor general said the balance of seven loan agreements amounting to 332 billion rupees had not been included in financial statements.

In the case of 14 loan agreements 4,730 million rupees relating to 2015 4,730 million and 1,176 million relating to 2015 and 5,906 million rupee relating to another 8 agreements had been dropped.

A loan of 7,550 billion taken from state and private banks by the ministry of defence to construct the Secretariat for Personal Identification had not been included in the accounts.

A difference of 13.6 billion rupees was seen in notes to the financial statements relating to foreign borrowings.

A loan of 7,550 million taken from state and private banks to build a Secretariat for Personal Identification had not been included in the accounts.

A test check had revealed that 12,790 million had been understated when reporting that 169.5 billion had been given as sub-loans to various government institutions. This included a loan of 4,990 granted to the Ministry of National Policies and Economic Affair to repay Golden Key Depositors.

A test check had revealed that tax payer funds given to state enterprise had been understated by 29.14 billion rupees. In the case of SriLankan 4.2 billion had been overstated compared to confirmed balances and in the case of Ceylon Electricity Board, 33.3 billion had been understated.

A test check had revealed that government liabilities (other than public debt) 18.4 billion rupees.

Though a cash basis was supposed to be followed in accounting, 18.4 billion relating to leases had been recorded on an accrual basis.

"As such it was observed that there was no uniformity in the preparation of financial statements," The auditor general noted.

The AG said here were also 487 billion gap in recognizing liabilities of Treasury Bonds as 2016 bonds were recorded on their face value, but earlier ones were not.

Sums of 7.2 billion rupees and 5.6 billion rupees payable to Sri Lanka State Pharmaceuticals Corporation and Ministry of Health had not been recognized as liabilities.

A National Savings Bank claim of 1.1 rupees for dormant accounts had not been recognized. A liability of 10.0 billion for banks in respect of senior citizen interest subsidies had not been recognized.

The attorney general said when all liabilities were counted the debt to gross domestic product ratio appeared to 83.3 percent, not 79.3 percent and it had exceeded limit set in the fiscal management responsibility law.

The budget deficit had also exceeded the limit for many years.

The auditor general refused to certify the accounts for 2016 and disclaimed saying he was unable to express a view.


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  1. Nimal June 03, 01:49 AM

    Ratne. According to the earlier one AG seems to have made a series of qualifications last year. Only a few of them seems to have been resolved.
    Question No 01:
    Did the Minister/Officials deal with last year's audit queries?
    Question No 02:
    Why did not they answer this year's queries?If the officials do no agree, that should have been put as a note so that poeple would know. Disclaiming accounts is a serious matter.

  2. Nana June 03, 01:40 AM

    Somebody should take the blame. Finance Ministry has no Accountant ? If so, why is he/she there ?

  3. DEMOcracy June 03, 01:03 AM

    THESE DEBTS WERE A LEGACY FROM THE RAJAPAKSE REGIME These debts were a legacy from the Rajapaksa regime.... Why is the AG silent on all the thievery of the Rajapaksas and seems bent head over heels to highlight so called cooked stories of the present regime?...

  4. Ratne June 03, 12:38 PM

    I just finished reading the old articles also. This seems to have been a long-standing problem going beyond current govt.Not fair to blame just Ravi K.

    You can blame him for not correcting these problems and allowing them to become so big.The new should have cleaned up the data much earlier instead of getting bogged down in bondscams etc.

  5. Viraj De Silva June 03, 12:23 PM

    Cooking the books so they can buy luxury vehicles Nice work

  6. L Perera June 03, 11:39 AM

    The Minister in question is an embarrassment to Sri Lanka. It's time the President realized that the people of Lanka deserve better. Comment by Dayan should have been edited prior to publication( grammar is atrocious).

  7. Dayan June 03, 09:22 AM

    Is the auditor General is from US? This is damaging for the country. He and the Finance Ministry would have discuss and settle these matters.If he has appointed by the US government he can publish these things.

  8. sacre blieu June 03, 08:36 AM

    Well organised thieving of all those so called dedicated , conscious, educated who swore oaths, political humbugs and thugs, and even some in uniform who are and should be held responsible and even prosecuted. What about the Rs.8 bn. that was, for the first time virtually gifted,by the central bank to a private institution during the JR Jayawardena government and was not recovered.

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