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2020 general election: Complaints against state employees

*AG ready to assist in auditing state employees attendance
*EC admits complaints; Commission to decide

By Maheesha Mudugamuwa

With the increasing number of incidents of public properties being misused for election campaigns, the Auditor General’s Department said it is ready to audit the public sector workers’ attendance during the election period if a request is made by the Election Commission (EC).

Speaking to The Morning, Deputy Auditor General P.L.K. Perera said the Department at present is monitoring only the financial matters of the state sector but if a request is made by the commission, it could look into whether the state workers were being used for election-related campaigns of political parties.

“As of now there was no such request made by the EC and therefore the department is currently not conducting any audit with regard to state sector employee attendance,” Perera said.

However, allegations have been levelled by the election monitors against the misuse of several public vehicles, premises, and officials for ruling party campaigns.

According to People’s Action for Free and Fair Elections (PAFFREL) Executive Director Rohana Hettiarachchi, the incidents are at low levels at present. However, there were several incidents where the ruling party had misused public properties, he said, adding that the use of public properties by a ruling party cannot be completely stopped but it should be at a very minimal level.

When contacted by The Morning, EC Chairman Mahinda Deshapriya said the complaints received by the Commission are directed at the relevant authorities.

However, when asked whether the Commission would request the Auditor General’s Department to conduct an audit on state employee attendance, Deshapriya said a decision would be taken at the Commission meeting with all three members.