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THE CONSTITUTION OF THE DEMOCRATIC SOCIALIST REPUBLIC OF SRI LANKA

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CHAPTER XVII - FINANCE

 

Control of Parliament over public finance.

148. Parliament shall have full control over public finance. No tax, rate or any other levy shall be imposed by any local authority or any other public authority, except by or under the authority of a law passed by Parliament or of any existing law.

 

Consolidated Fund.

149. (1) The funds of the Republic not allocated by law to specific purposes shall form one Consolidated Fund into which shall be paid the produce of all taxes, imposts, rates and duties and all other revenues and receipts of the Republic not allocated to specific purposes.

(2) The interest on the public debt, sinking fund payments, the costs, charges and expenses incidental to the collection, management and receipt of the Consolidated Fund and such other expenditure as Parliament may determine shall be charged on the Consolidated Fund.

 

Withdrawals of sums from Consolidated Fund.

150. (1) Save as otherwise expressly provided in paragraphs (3) and (4) of this Article, no sum shall be withdrawn from the Consolidated Fund except under the authority of a warrant under the hand of the Minister in charge of the subject of Finance.

(2) No such warrant shall be issued unless the sum has by resolution of Parliament or by any law been granted for specified public services for the financial year during which the withdrawal is to take place or is otherwise lawfully, charged on the Consolidated Fund.

(3) Where the President dissolves Parliament before the Appropriation Bill for the financial year has passed into law, he may, unless Parliament shall have already made provision, authorize the issue from the Consolidated Fund and the expenditure of such sums as he may consider necessary for the public services until the expiry of a period of three months from the date on which the new Parliament is summoned to meet.

(4) Where the President dissolves Parliament and fixes a date or dates for a General Election the President may, unless Parliament has already made provision in that behalf, authorize the issue from the Consolidated Fund and the expenditure of such sums as he may, after consultation with the Commissioner of Elections, consider necessary for such elections.

 

Contingencies Fund.

151. (1) Notwithstanding any of the provisions of Article 149, Parliament may by law create a Contingencies Fund for the purpose of providing for urgent and unforeseen expenditure.

(2) The Minister in charge of the subject of Finance, if satisfied

(a)  that there is need for any such expenditure, and

(b)  that no provision for such expenditure exists,

may, with the consent of the President, authorize provision to be made therefor by an advance from the Contingencies Fund.

(3) As soon as possible after every such advance, a Supplementary Estimate shall be presented to Parliament for the purpose of replacing the amount so advanced.

 

Special Provisions as to Bills affecting public revenue.

152. No Bill or motion, authorizing the disposal of, or the imposition of charges upon, the Consolidated Fund or other funds of the Republic, or the imposition of any tax or the repeal, augmentation or reduction of any tax for the time being in force shall be introduced in Parliament except by a Minister, and unless such Bill or motion has been approved either by the Cabinet of Ministers or in such manner as the Cabinet of Ministers may authorize.

 

Auditor General.

153. (1) There shall be an Auditor-General who shall be appointed by the President and who shall hold office during good behaviour.

(2) The salary of the Auditor-General shall be determined by Parliament, shall be charged on the Consolidated Fund and shall not be diminished during his term of office.

(3) The office of the Auditor-General shall become vacant-

(a) upon his death ;

(b) on his resignation in writing addressed to the President ;

(c) on his attaining the age of sixty years ;

(d) on his removal by the President on account of ill health or physical or mental infirmity ; or

(e) on his removal by the President upon an address of Parliament.

(4) Whenever the Auditor-General is unable to discharge the functions of his office, the President may appoint a person to act in the place of the Auditor-General.

 

Duties and functions of Auditor-General.

154. (1) The Auditor-General shall audit the accounts of all departments of Government, the Offices of the Cabinet of Ministers, the Judicial Service Commission, the Public Service Commission, the Parliamentary Commissioner for Administration, the Secretary-General of Parliament and the Commissioner of Elections, local authorities, public corporations and business or other undertakings vested in the Government under any written law.

(2) Notwithstanding the provisions of paragraph (1) of this Article, the Minister in charge of any such public corporation or business or other undertaking may, with the concurrence of the Minister in charge of the subject of Finance, and in consultation with the Auditor-General, appoint a qualified auditor or auditors to audit the accounts of such public corporation or business or other undertaking. Where such appointment has been made by the Minister, the Auditor-General may, in writing, inform such auditor or auditors that he proposes to utilize his or their services for the performance and discharge of the Auditor-General's duties and functions in relation to such public corporation, business or other undertaking and thereupon such auditor or auditors shall act under the direction and control of the Auditor-General.

(3) The Auditor-General shall also perform and discharge such duties and functions as may be prescribed by Parliament by law.

(4) (a) The Auditor-General may for the purpose of the performance and discharge of his duties and functions engage the services of a qualified auditor or auditors who shall act under his direction and control.

(b) If the Auditor-General is of opinion that it is necessary to obtain assistance in the examination of any technical, professional or scientific problem relevant to the audit, he may engage the services of -

(i) a person not being an employee of the department, body or authority the accounts of which are being audited, or

(ii) any technical or professional or scientific institution not being an institution which has any interest in the management of the affairs of such department, body or authority.

and such person or institution shall act under his direction and control.

(5) (a) The Auditor-General or any person authorized by him shall in the performance and discharge of his duties and functions be entitled

(i) to have access to all books, records, returns and other documents

(ii) to have access to stores and other property ; and

(iii) to be furnished with such information and explanations as may be necessary for the performance of such duties and functions.

(b) Every qualified auditor appointed to audit the accounts of any public corporation, or business or other undertaking, or any person authorized by such auditor shall be entitled to like access, information and explanations in relation to such public corporation, or business or other undertaking.

(6) The Auditor-General shall within ten months after the close of each financial year and as and when he deems it necessary report to Parliament on the performance and, discharge of his duties and functions under the Constitution.

(7) Every qualified auditor appointed under the provisions of paragraph (2) of this Article shall submit his report to the Minister and also submit a copy thereof to the Auditor-General.

(8) In this Article, "qualified auditor" means -

(a)  an individual who, being a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Sri Lanka, or of any other Institute established by law, possesses a certificate to practise as an Accountant issued by the Council of such Institute ; or

(b) a firm of Accountants each of the resident partners of which, being a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Sri Lanka or of any other Institute established by law, possesses a certificate to practise as an Accountant issued by the Council of such Institute.

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