Legislation to protect whistleblowers | Sunday Observer

Legislation to protect whistleblowers

Legislation to protect whistleblowers of public and private finance will be introduced very soon, State Minister of Finance Eran Wickremaratne told guests at the Chartered Public Finance Accountancy (CPFA) Convocation and the Best Annual Reports and Accounts Awards for the public sector at the BMICH last week.

So far there is no law in Sri Lanka to protect whistleblowers of public and private finance though many other countries have provisions in the law to protect them.

Frauds and malpractices thus go unreported as would-be whistleblowers withhold information fearing reprisals due to lack of whistleblower protection laws.

Minister of Special Assignments Sarath Amunugama asserted that only around 70 percent of the budgetary allocation is used by the majority of ministries, leaving development work unaccomplished every year.

He said politicians and public servants are accountable for the failure in utilising the funds allocated to their respective ministries each year.

“There is no dialogue between the accountants and the ministry secretary. They hardly meet or speak except when they are being pulled up with audit queries by the Auditor General. It is only when that fatal letter comes that they begin to discuss matters,” the Minister said.

He reiterated the need to ensure that the budgetary process is done properly in the country. Very often it is distorted willy-nilly with supplementary estimates and it is done in an arbitrary manner.

“Public finance is at the heart of democratic governance. Public finance plays a pivotal role in the economy. This is precisely why public finance should meet global accounting standards,” Amunugama said.

One hundred and thirty two public sector accountants were presented awards at the convocation.