Internal audit on Mahendran should be probed: Yapa

Published : 9:14 am  February 10, 2017 | No comments so far |  | 


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By Sandun A Jayasekera
State Minister of Finance, Laksman Yapa Abeywardana yesterday said a thorough investigation must also be launched on the allegations made by a Central Bank internal inquiry against former governor Arjuna Mahendran in a manner, similar to the Commission of Inquiry appointed by President Maithripala Sirisena to probe the infamous bond scam.   

DM_20170210_A001-3Commenting on the statement that had been sent by Mr. Mahendran to the media on Tuesday which was published on the following day (8) denouncing certain CB officials for conducting an internal audit on his expenses during his tenure, Minister Abeywardana said Mr. Mahendran should reply to the allegations against him in the report and not to a former CB governor and CB officials.  
Addressing the media at his office yesterday, Minister Abeywardana said the position of President Sirisena and the SLFP was that a formal inquiry was necessary on the findings of the CB audit report.    In his media statement, Mr, Mahendran alleged that the internal audit report was a work of a team of officials who worked in cahoots with a former CB governor to put him in trouble and it was unfair to compile such report and reveal it without calling for his explanation. 
“The crux of the issue is whether he is guilty or not on these allegations. It is not a simple matter if he has committed 163 acts of corruption, dishonesty or illegality as cited by the ‘Review of the procedures adopted on foreign travel and other expenses of the former governor’ carried out by the Internal Audit Department of the CB.    According to the audit inquiry as quoted by Minister Abeywardana, the former governor Mr. Mahendran has booked into more than one hotel in a single day during one of his foreign tours and claimed Rs. 523,393 as hotel bills. Surprisingly, he has also made hotel reservation for extra guests and has forwarded bills to the tune of Rs. 1,625,746.   

Minister Abeywardana quoting the audit report said Mr. Mahendran’s average monthly credit card expenses paid by the CB had been Rs. 34,427,772 and no invoice had been forwarded for reclaimed expenses to the tune of Rs. 7,870,027. The amount paid for the delay in settling personal expenses was Rs. 12, 096,618. Payment has been made to him on submitting unacceptable invoices against settlements was Rs. 1,586,888. Payment against settlement without invoices – Rs. 78,70,027. Stamp duty paid on personal expenses Rs. 274, 770. Procurements made violating standing orders of the CB – Rs. 523, 123.