Auditing for Accountability: Unused Potential in Prevention and Combating Corruption

MCMS SELDI Policy Brief AfA Page 01No Real Democracy Without Strong Institutional Checks and Balances

It is well-known that corruption thrives in environments with weak or ineffective institutional checks and balances. Power holders often exploit the weak accountability frameworks to abuse office with impunity. Therefore, it is vital to balance effective decision-making and appropriate oversight. The oversight function performed by state audit institutions1, is a critical component of the checks and balances system fundamental to the functioning of any democratic system. State audit institutions (SAIs) critical role is to assure the parliament and taxpayers that the state funds are used purposefully, rationally, and efficiently.

Further, SAIs provide crucial recommendations on how to promote public sector transparency and accountability. While their primary role remains to assess public financial accounts’ regularity and integrity, in the past years, the state audit bodies have evolved and diversified their work to reflect emerging public finance issues and meet changing social expectations. While the overall focus remains on prevention and deterrence in public finance, there has been an emerging international trend among SAIs to engage more actively in identifying and following up on fraud and corruption to address realities on the ground and bridge the expectation gap.

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