Audit can be a lengthy process, more so if the books have not been maintained properly over a long period of time. It is not surprising, therefore, that the financial audit of the GHADC and JHADC, which started in October 2020, are yet to be over.
The audit was necessitated following allegations of corruption made by the BJP, which is a partner in the ruling alliance, in the implementation of special assistance grants sanctioned by the Centre to the two councils. The state government had to give in and asked the Director of Local Fund Audit to conduct a thorough audit of the expenses incurred by the two councils. Given that the period to be covered in the audit is 10 years, delay is only to be expected.
The BJP has now said that if the audit is taking so long then it will be better to hand over the investigation to the Central Bureau of Investigation. The party cannot be faulted for raising the issue of delay and suggesting the investigation be handed over to an independent agency like the CBI. After all, it must be remembered that crores of rupees of public money is at stake and if there has been any wrongdoing then the guilty needs to be punished. The government would do well to constantly monitor the ongoing audit.
Donald Lyngkhoi, Shillong