Section 52. All accounts rendered to or kept in the departments of any city shall be subject to the inspection of the city auditor or officer having similar duties, and in towns they shall be subject to the inspection of the selectmen. The auditor or officer having similar duties, or the selectmen, may require any person presenting for settlement an account or claim against the city or town to make oath before him or them, in such form as he or they may prescribe, as to the accuracy of such account or claim. The wilful making of a false oath shall be punishable as perjury. The auditor or officer having similar duties in cities, and the selectmen in towns, shall approve the payment of all bills or pay rolls of all departments before they are paid by the treasurer, and may disallow and refuse to approve for payment, in whole or in part, any claim as fraudulent, unlawful or excessive; and in that case the auditor or officer having similar duties, or the selectmen, shall file with the city or town treasurer a written statement of the reasons for the refusal; and the treasurer shall not pay any claim or bill so disallowed. This section shall not abridge the powers conferred on town accountants by sections fifty-five to sixty-one, inclusive.