Q2 2024

Supreme Audit Institutions with Jurisdictional Powers
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Long live the jurisdictional powers of SAIs

About 25% of all supreme audit institutions (SAIs) represented in INTOSAI undertake jurisdictional activities. Most of them are found in the French-speaking, Spanish-speaking and Portuguese-speaking areas of the world. But, it’s an attractive model that extends beyond these linguistic and cultural spheres: Latvia, South Africa and Thailand have recently equipped their SAIs with a new competence and an appropriate organization to sanction the misuse of public money. Others, like Indonesia or Vietnam, are willing to obtain new jurisdictional powers or similar functions. This is also a model that can evolve: The French legislator has just radically reformed the system of liability for public managers, which had been in force for decades. 

The Forum of Supreme Audit Institutions with Jurisdictional Functions: The Significance of Its Jurisdictional Role in the Public Sphere

Supreme Audit Institutions (SAIs) with jurisdictional functions from around the world make up approximately a quarter of the International Organization of Supreme Audit Institutions (INTOSAI) membership. According to Pompe et. Al (2022), these SAIs not only audit, but also assume crucial roles in the adjudication and management of public funds. SAIs with jurisdictional functions have become a beacon of transparency and accountability, as they conduct reviews of accounts, and impose sanctions upon detecting poor management or financial irregularities in government administration. 

Featured Articles

Overview of the different models of SAIs and focus on the jurisdictional model

There are three main models of SAIs in the world, and several variants. They have a very long history, dating back in some cases to the Middle Ages, but all three were renewed and developed between the 18th century and the beginning of the following century, when modern states were established.

Overview of the INTOSAI-P 50

The INTOSAI Core Principles are at the pinnacle of INTOSAI’s professional pronouncements, just behind the Lima and Mexico Declarations, which represent the “Magna Carta” of external government auditing and define the conditions for its independent and effective functioning. To date in 2024, there are three: one is devoted to the value and benefits that SAIs bring to citizens (INTOSAI-P 12), another to transparency and accountability (INTOSAI-P 20), and the third sets out the 12 principles that should guide the actions of SAIs with jurisdictional powers, in the exercise of their functions.

Guidelines for the 12 Principles Set Out in INTOSAI-P 50

At its General Assembly in Lisbon, Portugal in September 2021, the Forum of Jurisdictional SAIs adopted a set of guidelines designed to publicize and promote the exercise of jurisdictional and contentious missions by SAIs vested with this competence. These guidelines provide and illustrate in very concrete terms the frame of reference for this exercise in conditions of independence, objectivity or neutrality, legal rigor, public interest and fairness in line with the highest international standards.

The seven essential benefits from the exercise of SAIs with jurisdictional functions

SAIs with jurisdictional powers are often misunderstood, and the value of their specific features is generally not fully appreciated. A SAI has jurisdictional powers when it has received the legal mandate to sanction a person on the grounds of an irregularity or damage, related to the use of public funds under the SAI’s jurisdiction and which can be imputed to that person, following contradictory-adversal proceedings.

SAI Latvia and the Practice of Recovery of Losses

The State Audit Office of the Republic of Latvia (SAI Latvia) is an independent and collegial supreme audit institution (SAI) with its mandate specified in the Constitution of the Republic of Latvia. Specifically, SAI Latvia has the mandate to notify public entities of the findings on public finance management which pertain to them, and to notify law enforcement authorities of violations of legal provisions detected during an audit. However, SAI Latvia does not have the right to make decisions on punishing officials who commit unlawful actions.

Beyond auditing and reporting – the expansion of the Auditor-General of South Africa’s powers to strengthen accountability mechanisms

Following a number of years of deteriorating audit outcomes and a lack of consequences for the mismanagement of the public funds by those charged with the governance of government entities, the public demand for enhanced accountability and transparency saw calls from the public, media and parliamentary oversight structures for a review of the mandate and powers of the Auditor-General South Africa (AGSA) to go beyond auditing and reporting in an effort to strengthen accountability mechanisms. 

The Evolution of the Honorary Council of the Code of Ethics: Strengthening SAI Indonesia’s Jurisdiction

Striving for a high standard of ethical assurance has been deeply rooted as part of daily services in public institutions. Globally, INTOSAI has ISSAI 130 on the Code of Ethics, which underlines the importance of implementing an ethics control system within the SAI. The system does not only carry out ethical requirements but also other programs, such as risk identification, analysis, mitigation, educational support, assessment of misconduct allegations, and suspect protection. SAIs worldwide vie to initiate a satisfactory management climate and proactively ensure the expected morality. Invariably, SAI Indonesia believes in honouring these values. 

The new system of financial accountability for public managers, at the heart of the public integrity ecosystem

The French Cour des comptes and regional and territorial chambers (CRTCs) underwent a major overhaul with the reform of the financial liability regime for public managers on 1st January 2023. Until this date, the contentious functions of these financial jurisdictions were based on two distinct liability regimes: the one specifically applicable to public accountants (who handle the public fund and keep the accounts) and the one generally applicable to “authorizing” public managers (who decide on revenue and expenditure).

Public Prosecution Offices within Supreme Audit Institutions’ jurisdiction, their role and importance for the due process of law: A glance at the findings of a global survey

The INTOSAI-P 50 document outlines twelve principles for the jurisdictional activities of Supreme Audit Institutions (SAIs) empowered with the corresponding mandate, which allows them to rule on the liability of individuals accountable by law in case of irregularities or mismanagement.

Jurisdictional Control of the Court of Auditors in Madagascar: Challenges and Prospects

The French Cour des Comptes, created in 1807 under Napoleon, is one of France’s oldest institutions. It acquired its authority through jurisdictional control of public accountants’ accounts, its primary mission. This type of control was subsequently adopted by other French-speaking, Portuguese-speaking and Spanish-speaking countries. In Madagascar, the Cour des Comptes is facing challenges with a complex issue linked to jurisdictional control. This article aims to elicit questions and reactions to this situation, in order to highlight the importance of the challenge of jurisdictional control of the Malagasy Cour des Comptes, while shedding light on its raison d’être, in promoting the sound management of public funds.

Burundi’s Cour des comptes aims to operationalize its jurisdictional mission and to comply with international standards for financial jurisdictions

Under the terms of Article 183 of the Constitution of the Republic of Burundi, promulgated on June 7, 2018: “A Cour des comptes is established, which is responsible for examining, judging and certifying the accounts of all public services. It assists Parliament in overseeing the implementation of the Finance Act”.

The Chambre des Comptes of the Supreme Court of Cameroon benefits from diversified technical cooperation and aims for greater international cooperation

28 years after its creation by the Cameroonian constitution of 1996 and 20 years after the effective start of its activities, the Chamber of Accounts (or in French, the Chambre des Comptes) of the Supreme Court of Cameroon continues its transformation into a modern public auditing institution with the support of its peers and technical and financial partners.

The relationship between audit and the enforcement of financial responsibilities: Experiences from SAI of Portugal

The SAI of Portugal (Tribunal de Contas) is currently an institution that combines both the Anglo-Saxon and the Jurisdictional models of Supreme Audit Institutions. It means that although the audit function is a main function activity of the Court, it also complimentarily has also the power to judge financial liabilities.

The Professional Trajectory of the Judicial Function: A Case Study from the Federal Court of Accounts of Brazil

Since 2020, the Federal Court of Accounts of Brazil (TCU) has been structuring a policy of professional trajectories, with the aim of greater professionalization of its auditors. A professional trajectory is defined as the sequence of positions or roles occupied throughout the functional life of an auditor, encompassing qualifications, experiences, and competencies necessary to perform functions at a certain career level.

The Challenges of the Jurisdictional Function of the Supreme Audit Institution of Spain in Modern Society 

Spanish society has undergone major changes over the last 20 years in line with other countries of the European Union. The financial crisis of 2008 strongly impacted the Spanish citizenry, and resulted in the arrival of important and fast changes: political, economic and social changes.

Role of SAI Morocco in the Fight Against Fraud

Fraud in public management can be defined as the abusive use of power by a person vested with public authority or mandate, to serve their own or private interests.

Given the risks associated with fraud, the Kingdom of Morocco has spared no effort in promoting an exhaustive and integrated vision to tackle this global challenge that affects economic and social development. Morocco’s particular attention to the fight against fraud is reflected in the 2011 Constitution, which has elevated good governance bodies to constitutional status, and enshrined the principles of good governance(1), transparency, accountability and the moralization of public life(2). The protection of these principles has been entrusted to the Court of Audit(3).

Duties and Powers of the State Audit Commission of Thailand to Order an Administrative Penalty

The concept of this article, “Duties and Powers of the State Audit Commission of Thailand to Order an Administrative Penalty” was inspired by reflections upon a similar French model. Professor Dr. Orapin Phonsuwan Sabyeroop wrote an article titled “Control of Budget Enforcement and Fiscal Administration by Judicial Bodies in the French Public Finance System” after completing her Ph.D. at the University of Paris II. Thailand adopted this concept, but adjusted it to fit the country’s context at the time. Due to the inability to establish a court quickly and timely, Thailand initially adopted the model of a board, or the Board of Audit, to enforce these principles before developing a court system similar to France’s in the future. 

The Corte dei conti fights against fraud in European Union funds and the National Recovery and Resilience Plan through jurisdictional activities 

The European Union needs a strong protection of its funds in order to ensure its administration, and to allocate resources to the Member States or other beneficiaries, for the implementation of its own policies. Both tax evasion and illicit conduct resulting in the receipt of undue funding or the diversion of such funds from their intended purposes cause damage to the European Union (EU)’s treasury.

The specificities of the jurisdictional activities of the Italian Corte dei conti

The model of jurisdictional supreme audit institution (SAI) is recognized as that of an institution which is able to carry out all types of audit – performance, compliance, and financial audits – and, in addition, is invested with the power to issue formal rulings directly sanctioning the liability of managers of public funds when its audit findings show some irregularities, or when such irregularities are referred to the SAI by a third party.

The 7th Forum of Jurisdictional SAIs Convenes in Bangkok: 16-17 October 2023, Bangkok, State Audit Office of the Kingdom of Thailand

The 7th Forum of Jurisdictional Supreme Audit Institutions (SAIs), held in Bangkok on 16-17 October 2023, was inaugurated with an opening ceremony that featured a series of distinguished speakers, underscoring the global significance and collaborative spirit of the event. General Chanathap Indamra, the President of the State Audit Commission of Thailand and Chairman of the ASOSAI, extended a warm welcome to participants, setting a tone of camaraderie and shared purpose for the proceedings. Mr. Jean Yves Bertucci, the President of the Chamber of Litigation of the French Court of Accounts, contributed his insights, further enriching the dialogue with perspectives from Forum of Jurisdictional SAIs.

Developing relevant and innovative approaches to support SAI Independence: Insights from the SAI Independence Rapid Advocacy Mechanism (SIRAM)

Supreme Audit Institutions (SAIs) have a vital role for public sector accountability, integrity, and transparency. To fulfill their role and build trust between the organs of the state and society, SAIs need to be independent. 

SAI Independence may be understood as the ability of a Supreme Audit Institution to operate autonomously of the government, without undue influence and control. It is considered a fundamental condition for SAIs to effectively carry out their mandate. The INTOSAI Mexico Declaration on SAI Independence identifies eight conditions, known as the pillars of independence, as the benchmark against which the independence of an SAI can be assessed.

SAI PMF a tool for all SAIs, including jurisdictional SAIs! Updated indicators to assess jurisdictional activities

Since the SAI Performance Measurement Framework (SAI PMF) was introduced in 2010, an impressive 96 SAIs have completed a SAI PMF assessment. While SAI PMF has become an established tool among SAIs globally, uptake so far has been more limited among SAIs with jurisdictional competencies, with only 12 being jurisdictional-model SAIs out of the 96.