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PAC responds to Head 50 submission

The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has responded to Finance Minister Aiyaz Saiyed-Khaiyum, who had urged the PAC not to give ‘running commentaries’ on its work. Minister Saiyed-Khaiyum was referring to on-going proceedings by the PAC into expenses under Head 50 of the National Budget, highlighted in the Auditor-General’s report 2007-13. In a statement, PAC chairman Hon. Biman Prasad took aim […]

Calvin Prasad, Verleshwar Singh

September 24, 2015 3:53 pm

The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has responded to Finance Minister Aiyaz Saiyed-Khaiyum, who had urged the PAC not to give ‘running commentaries’ on its work.

Minister Saiyed-Khaiyum was referring to on-going proceedings by the PAC into expenses under Head 50 of the National Budget, highlighted in the Auditor-General’s report 2007-13.

In a statement, PAC chairman Hon. Biman Prasad took aim at Minister Saiyed-Khaiyum, saying the AG had ‘no business’ commenting on the work of the PAC.

Hon. Prasad said:

The Attorney General and Minister for Finance has no business to comment on the work of the Public Accounts Committee.  Like any other Member of Parliament, he can contribute to debates on Reports tabled by the Public Accounts Committee…

Lack of information, documentation and acquittals from the Ministry of Finance resulted in the Auditor-General documenting its findings.  This was scrutinised by PAC and an officer from the Ministry of Finance attempted to provide explanations.  That officer, according to the AG was not the right person to explain Head 50.  So why was the officer sent in the first place?

In a media conference on Tuesday, Minister Saiyed-Khaiyum told the chairman of the PAC:

Please don’t give a running commentary, you are undermining the very committee that you are supposed to be representing with the credibility of that committee is significantly diminished if you arrive at the conclusion without hearing all the facts.

Minister Saiyed-Khaiyum had also pointed out the PAC had not called on the relevant officer to explain:

In this particular case, because a question was asked regarding Head 50 and because the officer at that time was not the relevant officer to answer the question, she was from Audit. Asinate who is here next to me who is the head of budget- she should been the one to whom the question should have been put to and unfortunately, that officer said I cannot account for it.

Hon. Prasad confirmed that the Ministry of Finance had submitted a breakdown of Head 50 expenses on Tuesday, which the PAC would discuss later.

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