Financial misconduct


The officers who are mandated to remain in charge of the public exchequer by the Government in a fiduciary capacity or as quasi trustees for a limited period cannot behave as if the same was in absolute terms of something like on ownership basis and instead of being facilitators for its judicious use under probity and set procedures, should never create avoidable problems for the Government. The Drawing and Disbursing Officers, in this regard, must peep into their functioning and confirm to rules and statutes very strictly. It has been observed in many cases that the State’s financial code is virtually conspicuously flouted and defied. Those in charge of areas as sensitive as finance, revenue and expenditure are supposed to be guided by high standards of financial propriety. The fact of the matter is that the state of affairs are such that we have seen the State finance department issuing at regular intervals instructions in respect of ensuring strict financial discipline in all the State departments. Over the years, in every CAG reports we have been made aware of the financial irregularities in almost all departments in the State. It is well understood that unless there was due sanction and administrative approval by a competent authority for expenditure, well under rules incorporated in various books and codes issued by the Government, no expenditure from the public exchequer would be termed as genuine. This is an area falling in the domain of strict audit strictures questioning the expenditure in itself. Not only that, proper plan, design, estimate, scrutiny, comparative cost analysis and provisions for funds already made in advance for incurring any expenditure from the public exchequer depending upon the type of project or item requiring such expenditure, backed by the approval and the sanction, would only constitute an expenditure in normal course which otherwise would be subject to austere audit and inspection. Administrative approvals have to be obtained in all such expenditures in a defined and set time-frame. In fact, financial code and public works accounts code, book of financial powers and other guidelines must be scrupulously followed in letter and spirit where there should be no attempt to find any exit routes for any elasticity to facilitate manipulations . These books and codes have been prepared to pre-empt any breaches and to fully safeguard the public money which is nothing less than a sacrosanct trust. Situations and moments of emergency could, however, arise where some expenditures have to be incurred in the interests of the public or to prevent any unaffordable delay or any loss to a standing project, the drawing and disbursing authority or any administrative or departmental head may incur an expenditure beyond the sanctioned limit or the one not authorised in advance but as early as possible, such action in writing has got to be confirmed from the competent authority. Having said all this, it is unfortunate to observe how some drawing and disbursing authorities are conveniently flouting these guidelines and instructions which have led the State finance department to regularly issue instructions as instances of floating tenders without approvals and funds backing are eroding the financial discipline which should never be acceptable as any laxity or lenient view are fraught with the chances of paving the way for facilitating gross irregularities, frauds and embezzlements. Here it should be understood that treasury officers are the ultimate guards and protectors of the public funds and implementing of and following rule books and financial code must be their prime duty. They, therefore, must wield their powers to refuse and withhold any payment which does not confirm to the set parameters. Not only have the adverse reporting from the Comptroller and Auditor General of India and the Accountant General to be kept in mind for future financial conduct but all such irregularities pointed out earlier in their considered audit reports duly set right, there being no scope of any deviation.