Audit office seeks financial autonomy

first_imgBy Angelos AnastasiouThe Audit Service should become financially autonomous by being allowed to submit its annual budget directly to parliament for approval, instead of requiring the cabinet’s green-light, Auditor-general Odysseas Michaelides said on Wednesday.Speaking after a House finance committee session, in which the issue was discussed, Michaelides referred to his frequent turf wars with Finance Minister Harris Georgiades, which “all lead back to the need for financial autonomy”.“We are not asking for autonomy on matters of promotions – all we are asking for is, when we prepare our annual budget with the Finance Ministry, to submit it directly to parliament for approval, rather than submitting it to the cabinet,” he said.A legislative proposal to this effect has been tabled jointly by main opposition Akel and the Green party and appears to have the backing of a majority of MPs, but the House Legal Affairs committee asked to discuss it as it relates to a proposed constitutional amendment.Finance committee chairman Averof Neophytou said such an “obviously unconstitutional” proposal could not possibly be backed by one of the state’s most independent institutions.“The extent of autonomy cannot be changed unless it is proposed by the executive branch of government,” he said.Still, Neophytou said, the financial autonomy of the legislative takes precedence over other institutions.“We can’t have separation of powers when the budget, positions and operation of parliament are in the hands of the executive,” he argued.“So the first thing that needs to be regulated is, by constitutional priority, parliamentary autonomy. I believe that after [January’s] presidential elections the first issued that must be forwarded is the autonomy of the most essential branch of power, the legislative branch.”He added that the Akel-Greens proposal is a half-measure, since it does not solve the problem.“Even as the budget may not go through the cabinet, the Audit Service’s employees will remain civil servants and depend on the Public Service Commission,” he said.Responding to the argument, Michaelides said de-linking the Audit Service from the public service commission would grant it excessive powers.“This is why we are not demanding any other form of autonomy, other than financial autonomy,” he said.Such autonomy, he added, was an obligation undertaken by the Cyprus state both in its talks for accession to the European Union and during the economic-adjustment programme agreed with international creditors in 2013.Akel MP Aristos Damianou said the party’s view has always been that independent officials and institutions should be truly independent and impervious to political interference.“Therefore, through the discussion that has already started, we must arrive at a result that will safeguard such independence, which includes the Audit Service, the Legal Service, the judiciary and certainly the House of Representatives,” he said. You May LikeDr. Marty ProPower Plus Supplement3 Dangerous Foods People Feed Their Dogs (Without Realizing It)Dr. Marty ProPower Plus SupplementUndoMBA Degrees | Search AdsMBA Programs Online – See For YourselfMBA Degrees | Search AdsUndoYahoo SearchThese SUVs Are The Cream Of The Crop. Research Best Compact SUV CarYahoo SearchUndo Concern over falling tourism numbersUndoTurkish Cypriot actions in Varosha ‘a clear violation’ of UN resolutions, Nicosia saysUndoOur View: Argaka mukhtar should not act as if he owns the beachUndoby Taboolaby Taboolalast_img read more