asked the President whether, in view of the fact that on the 12th December, 1923, he expressed a hope that the Report of the Comptroller and Auditor-General would be presented before the 31st January, 1924, and the Public Accounts Committee as provided for in Standing Order No. 100 then appointed, he is now in a position to state when this Report will be presented and when the Public Accounts Committee will be appointed?
CEISTEANNA—QUESTIONS. ORAL ANSWERS. - REPORT OF COMPTROLLER AND AUDITOR-GENERAL.
The rendering of accounts has been delayed by the circumstances mentioned in my reply of the 12th December. I understand, however, that the Comptroller and Auditor-General will almost certainly have received completed accounts by the end of this month, and that his report will probably be available in about three weeks from now. It is proposed that the necessary steps for appointment of a Public Accounts Committee should be taken on the receipt of the report.
Has the President realised that if there are to be Supplementary Estimates it would be very desirable to have the Public Accounts Committee in existence; and might it not be necessary to appoint the Committee even before the Report is received?
I do not think that the Supplementary Estimates would be the subject of any consideration by the Public Accounts Committee.
The Public Accounts Committee would deal with accounts up to March of last year, whereas the Supplementary Estimates would be in relation to this year. In that case I do not see that the Public Accounts Committee should have any control or supervision over the Supplementary Estimates, which are entirely of a different character.
Is the President aware that that is the practice elsewhere, and that when the public estimates are submitted the Public Accounts Committee, in England at any rate, go into the manner in which the money has been expended?
No, I am not aware of that, but last year we had some Supplementary Estimates, and there was no objection on the ground that they should have been submitted to the Public Accounts Committee. I will bring the matter to the notice of the Minister for Finance, who will see whether it is necessary to have any such action taken.
Will the President allow me to lay my information before him?
Certainly—I will be very pleased to get it.