Finance Committee debates prompt investigation of government finances

The Majlis Finance Committee has decided to table the issue of the alleged embezzlement of MVR24million ($US1.5million) by the Disaster Management Centre (DMC) as an emergency issue tomorrow, local media has reported.

Following the release of the Auditor General’s report on the DMC’s 2010 finance, released last week, there have reportedly been two arrests in relation to the case.

Head of the committee Ahmed Nazim called into question the government’s accounting system, as did the Auditor General, Niyaz Ibrahim, who criticised those in charge at the DMC.

Ibrahim has also decided to expedite the audit of the government’s finances after being questioned in the Finance Committee about an allegedly unauthorised MVR300million ($US19.4million) loan, taken by the government from the Bank of Maldives in June.

That is an assignment we had planned for this year. But after the MPs raised questions over the matter, we have sped up that process and the assignment has commenced and is ongoing. This exercise is intended to carry out a comprehensive public debt audit of the State,” Haveeru quoted Ibrahim as saying.

He said that the audit will cover five years of spending and admitted that it was his office’s responsibility to determine legality of state debt.

“Based on the ratios, it is the responsibility of the Auditor General to determine the vulnerability of the State. If you look at the practice of the rest of the world public debt audits will cover such issues,” Niyaz added.

“Debt is a highly sensitive issue. It is related to the sustainability of the State. In addition to determining the authenticity, there are some vulnerability ratios we look for in a public debt audit,” reported Haveeru.