Pinarayi Vijayan | Photo: Mathrubhumi
Thiruvananthapuram: Within days after the ruling CPM justified fundraising in the US for the Loka Kerala Sabha convention in New York, it has been learnt that no government audit will be conducted on the funds. No audit inspections were carried out during the last two conventions held in Dubai and London either.
Earlier, special organising committees were formulated to raise funds for the convention through sponsorships. The details of expenses and funds were reported to NORKA authorities, but no special audits were conducted on the fund collections.
Generally, the comptroller and auditor General (CAG) carries out the audits of government funds. However, as the regional conferences of the Lok Kerala Sabha are not funded by the government, CAG audits are not necessary.
Meanwhile, allegations are cropping up questioning the transparency of the fundraising of the convention, which is being organised as a government event.
About 5.50 lakh USD (Rs 4.53 crore) is the expected expenditure of the Loka Kerala Sabha convention. Nevertheless, neither the NORKA nor Loka Kerala Sabha secretariat has given an explanation as to how much funds have been collected through sponsorship so far.
The organising committee is formulated in such a way that it does not turn out to be a part of the state government’s official system. The committee is devoid of any NORKA representative as well. That is, NORKA vice chairman P Sreeramakrishnan’s earlier remarks on auditing is supposedly impractical.
Meanwhile, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, Finance Minister KN Balagopal and Speaker AN Shamseer will leave for New York on June 7 to take part in the convention. Hence, the cabinet meeting scheduled for Wednesday has been preponed to Tuesday.
On Friday, former Opposition Leader Ramesh Chennithala had asserted that the Loka Kerala Sabha was not beneficial for Malayalis, ordinary expatriates and mocked that "sponsorship" was a modern form of "bucket funding."
He said the opposition boycotted the Loka Kerala Sabha for the past two years as they realised that it was “a wasteful programme” being organised for the elites among expatriates.