Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PwC), the audit and consultancy firm which failed to detect the fraud in Satyam Computer Services, has been assigned to study the central government’s transparency efforts by examining the issues and constraints in implementing the Right to Information (RTI) Act.
The department of personnel and training (DoPT) will pay Rs 69 lakh to PwC for this study and almost 55 per cent of the amount has already been given. Sources in DoPT said the final report of the study, which was commissioned on March 19, 2008, was expected in a few weeks. Discussions are in progress on PwC’s interim report which was submitted a few months ago.
But the Satyam scandal has cast a cloud on PwC with questions being raised on whether the firm should go ahead with the study. The RTI Act was enacted to bring transparency and efficiency in governance, but PwC had lost credibility in the Satyam scam. Until Satyam’s former chairman B. Ramalinga Raju came clean, nobody was aware of his fraud leave alone PwC, which despite being the auditor never pointed out any discrepancy in Satyam accounts.
PwC’s RTI report is expected to teach the Central and State Governments how they can make this law effective. But the irony is that if PwC had lost anything, it is credibility and transparency. India Today tried to contact Joint Secretary (RTI) SK Sarkar but he was out of town. But DoPT sources confirmed that there is no proposal to review the PwC agreement in light of the Satyam scandal. PwC’s officer Nilachal Mishra said the study will not be affected by the Satyam fiasco and that the report would be submitted within a month.