§ Mr. GINNELL
asked the Chief Secretary whether he is aware that auditors for the Local Government Board in Ireland continue to disregard matters of common knowledge affecting the accounts and the rates if the matters do not appear in the accounts; for instance, that they pass payments on a high scale for advertising in newspapers defunct but for those payments, and on a low scale for advertising in papers the public read; and if he will say why those auditors are not instructed uniformly to require proof of circulation as a condition precedent to the sanction of payment?2406W
§ Mr. BIRRELL
The answer to the first paragraph of the question is in the negative. Having regard to recent decisions limiting the powers apparently conferred by statute, it would appear that auditors are not in a position to deal effectively, by way of surcharge, with excessive payments to newspapers where such payments-are made in respect of contracts enforceable at law unless they are in a position to charge and prove fraud or collusion. The Local Government Board have no authority to give the instruction indicated in the concluding paragraph of the question.