Trade unions have threatened to take stern action unless the Government appoints without delay an independent and experienced person as the Auditor General ? a post that has been vacant since August 11.
Alleging there were underhand moves to bring in a political appointee as S.C. Mayadunne`s successor, the Sri Lanka Audit Examiners` Service Union and Audit Services Union said tough union action would be taken if the Government did not appoint a permanent head without delay.
?We are ready to take islandwide trade union action, involving members from other public sector unions if the Government does not appoint an independent, experienced and non-political person to the Auditor General`s post?, Sri Lanka Audit Examiners` Service Union secretary B. Jagodage said.
Audit Services Union spokesperson K.H.U.D. Kumara said his union would strongly back trade union action forcing the Government to drop any plans to appoint a political stooge and pressure it to appoint an independent and qualified person.
Deputy Auditor General W.D. Hemaratne has been appointed as the acting head. His acting appointment which is only valid for two weeks at a time, has so far been extended four times.
The two unions claimed the Government dragging its feet over the appointment has slowed down progress in the Auditor General`s Department. They said there could be a major waste of public funds if a person who has little knowledge in the field was made the Auditor General. The unions also said they feel that Mr. Hemaratne who has been in the field for over 25 years has the necessary qualifications to be the next Auditor General.
Mr. Jagodage alleged moves to bring in a political figure as the departmental head have gained momentum with the presenting to Parliament of the Auditor General`s report on a special project audit on the management of government tax revenue which dealt with big tax frauds.