MP calls for severe action against ministry budget misappropriations

A proposal to take severe action against some region governments and Union government ministries that do not follow financial rules and regulations will be submitted to the parliament, said Lower House MP Sai Thiha Kyaw of the Joint Committee for Public Accounts.

The Union auditor-general investigated the project budget spending by several ministries for the 2013-2014 fiscal year and found several irregularities in over 30 of them. The auditor-general then met officials from those ministries to raise objections to their spending behaviour. 

“The ministries are not following financial regulations and do not accept the objections of the audit. When we questioned the responsible people in the ministries, they replied that they spent budgets on the projects by following the orders of the Chief Minister and the State Government. We pointed out that their budget spending was irregular,” Sai Thiha Kyaw said.

“Financial regulations have not been amended for several years. Some are outdated. Most ministries do not follow financial regulations. What are we to do next? The end of the parliamentary term is getting near. All the we used of the ministries are almost the same. There must be something wrong if it continues like this,” he said.

“Financial regulations should be reviewed. Severe punishment should be given. For that reason, the proposal regarding this issue will be submitted to the parliament,” he said. 

“When the misappropriation of money occurs in a ministry, the ministry regards it as a temporary case. The ministry allows the accused person to repay the same amount of the misappropriation. The accused is moved to a lower position and transferred to another place. A warning letter is given to the accused person. Most of the ministries are supposed to employ this practice. But most of the ministries are hand in glove with those misappropriating,” Sai Thiha Kyaw said.

“According to budget law, the budgets must be used up during the designated fiscal year. If there is surplus budget, it must be given back to the source committee. But the ministries invite tenders just before the end of the year, knowing the projects won't be finished by the end of the year. Some ministries don’t bestow extra funds to the committee, offering various excuses. This goes against the financial regulations,” Sai Thiha Kyaw said.

Khin Aung Myint, the speaker of Upper House, recently said budget spending is very similar to a tray of plums that spills in a market place. People passing by steal a handful, and ultimately, only half the plums are left.