The May 12 Anti-Corruption Summit in London recognises the important role Supreme Audit Institutions (SAIs) can play in the fight against corruption. The Summit Declaration resolves to work to strengthen fiscal transparency, including by ensuring legislative oversight of budget processes, and strengthening the capacity of SAIs. Supporting the independence of SAIs and the publication of audit findings are also recognised as important contributors to fiscal transparency. The INTOSAI Development Initiative (IDI) appreciates the Summit’s recognition of the importance of SAIs.
SAIs around the world are at the forefront in the fight against corruption. To cite two of examples, SAI Uganda has uncovered several instances of corrupt practices in government. The government has acknowledged the findings and taken corrective steps. In Sierra Leone, the Auditor General has been awarded the 2015 prestigious National Integrity Award by the Anti-Corruption Commission for her sustained efforts to fight corruption. SAI Sierra Leone’s work on the Audit of the Management of Ebola funds has shown significant lapses in the financial management system in Sierra Leone and how it has ultimately resulted in the loss of funds and a reduction in the quality of service delivery in the health sector.
As an INTOSAI (International Organisation of Supreme Audit Institutions) body, IDI has since 1986 supported more than 140 developing country SAIs in their efforts to enhance their capacity and contribute to improved transparency and accountability. Through the use of peer-peer support, the IDI has facilitated the professionalization of SAIs through the implementation of the International Standards for Supreme Audit Institutions (ISSAIs). IDI’s ISSAI Implementation Initiative (3i Programme) is already starting to have an impact raising the quality of audits in many different countries.
This year IDI has launched a new programme – SAI Fighting Corruption. This programme will make an important contribution to helping achieve the ambitions articulated through the Summit. It has three main components:
• An audit of the ways different governments are fighting corruption in key sectors such as health and education;
• A review of the extent to which SAIs are leading by example in particular through their use of codes of ethics; and
• A pilot scheme to work with targeted SAIs to help establish effective partnerships with other agencies fighting corruption.
Recognising the importance of independent SAIs, and the challenges many SAIs face in obtaining both de-jure and de-facto independence, the IDI has also initiated a pilot programme on SAI Independence. This programme supports SAIs in enhancing their independence in line with the INTOSAI Lima and Mexico Declarations.
IDI is committed to support member SAIs play a strategic role in the governance of their countries, developing the skills needed to hold governments to account and improve the management of public resources. Capacity development support has been provided in such areas as auditing revenue agencies, public debt, the extractive industries, procurement and other areas where there are major risks of fraud, corruption, mismanagement and waste.
At the same time SAIs cannot achieve impacts in isolation, but need to form partnerships with other state players committed to improving governance and accountability. To this end IDI has launched new initiatives to help SAIs work more effectively with parliaments, governments, the media, civil society and business.
Through the INTOSAI-Donor Secretariat, funded by several donors and hosted by IDI, we are part of a global push to ensure greater coordination and impact from our collective efforts. Helping put in place the systems and controls to prevent corruption is central to the role of the SAI community and IDI is committed to ensuring that the Summit’s pronouncements are reflected in the long-term sustained efforts needed to achieve real change.
For more information on IDI and its programmes
Contact: Shourjo Chatterjee, Strategy & Knowledge Manager, IDI
E mail: Shourjo.firstname.lastname@example.org