Supreme State Audit Office 
CAMEROON

Independence

The Supreme State Audit office (SAI Cameroon) is established by Head of State. The Head of the SAI appointment has no fixed term and qualifications. The removal of Head of SAI is by the Head of State.

The various conditions of service of the Head of the SAI to secure independence are:

The SAI is attached to the Executive branch of the government, under direct jurisdiction of Head of State and has no relation with the legislature. The SAI can Submit matters to competent judicial authorities in view of legal proceeding. The National assembly determines the budget of SAI however , the SAI makes its budgetary proposals which are submitted to the parliament. The SAI is subjected to the same procedures as regards financial accountability as other government bodies/ministries. The accounts of SAI are audited by the officers of the Ministry of Finance.

Jurisdiction

The SAI's jurisdiction extends to following and there are no limitations imposed on this jurisdiction except that only funds granted by government are audited and government must own at least 33% of the shares.

SAI also has Jurisdiction over 

Powers

The SAI has powers of requisitioning all records of the auditee departments/organisations to discharge its mandate by virtue of Article 7 of decree no. 97-48.

The SAI has powers to enforce or initiate enforcement action to secure access to needed records which are not produced by virtue of art. 7 of decree no. 97-48 . The SAI has power to seal, search and seize documents and other related items considered necessary for audit and inspection. Further, it has powers to seek testimonials of the persons concerned as per article 16 and 18 of decree no. 97-48 of March5,1997 relating to audit missions. The SAI is empowered to pursue its investigations with persons or agencies in order to gather information relating to any relevant transactions that these persons/agencies must have had with the bodies subject to audit.

The SAI  has powers to instruct government investigating agencies to perform activities considered necessary. An appeal or reversal of decision of the SAI's Budget and Finance Disciplinary Board lodged by an accused person may be brought before the board where new facts have come to light or if documents likely to cast doubts on the culpability/guiltness of the person concerned have been discovered. There is no limitation of number of re-examinations. The SAI does not have powers to decide on claims of interested persons in connection with official actions, duties and behaviour of persons subject to audit and inspection.  If the SAI receives such claims, they are forwarded to the competent authorities and the person who brought the claims is informed. The SAI has no authority to dispense with, in whole or part, the audit of Federal, Provincial and local Governments accounts and other related matters.

The SAI has powers to take punitive action and/or impose surcharges. One of the major roles played by the Supreme state audit to control corruption in the public sector is by carrying out punitive actions against government officials, for poor management, fraud and corrupt practices. This task is done by the budget and finance disciplinary Board, which is the arm of the institution empowered examine and rule on the irregularities committed by state executives, managers of public enterprises, public accountants and all those entrusted with management of public funds. The type of audit findings determines the decision of the board. The SAI has the powers to access the computer systems of the auditees and download and use electronic data either in site or off site. The SAI has the powers to review the development of computer systems by the auditees and suggest controls. The SAI does not have any role in the appointment or supervision of the other external auditors engaged by auditees for meeting the statutory requirements.

Audit Procedures and Functions

The SAI prescribes Financial, Compliance, Performance and EDP Audits in its scope of Audit. The powers to perform these audits are mandated as per article 2 of decree no. 97-48 of March 5, 1997 relating to audit assignments which states that supreme audit office shall carry out, Compliance and regulatory audits, Financial Audits, Performance audits, Programme evaluations, Environmental audits and special audits. The SAI conducts Concurrent Audit and Special Audit.

The SAI  discharges judicial functions.

a) The SAI mets out sanctions to government financial managers. Under conditions stipulated by laws and regulations. This is done through the budget and finance Disciplinary Board.

b) The audit court is assisted by the rapporteurs of court which are all auditors.

c) To investigate a case brought before the board,- a rapporteur with full powers to make any investigation is appointed. He officially notifies the accused persons of the decision to bring an action against him. The Accused person is summoned by any written means at least fifteen days before the date on which the board is to deal with the matter. The accused person can defend himself or can be defended by a representative.

d)  The rulings passed by the board range from fines prohibition from holding public function to the communication of fraud case to state prosecutors for criminal proceedings to be taken.

e) In the event the audit team detects serious and willful loss/fraud , it can take the fallowing measures 

The SAI is required to follow specific standards, practices and guidelines in conducting audit and reporting. The SAI can consult and/or collaborate with other countries/SAIs and international organisations on matters relating to audit e.g. exchange of experiences and information.

The SAI can engage consultants and/or obtain professional services in conducting audit. It  reports on acts that infringe upon state economic interests like mass embezzlement of state assets etc.

At the conclusion of each audit assignment findings of the audit are presented in a report composed of three major elements

The report is addressed to the president for appropriate actions to be taken as to the recommendations of the audit. The SAI  plays an active role on the disposal on audit findings.

The SAI does not have powers to share its audit reports with public or media or to amend accounts in case of financial statements. The SAI has an advisory role but the government is not required to consult the SAI before taking any decision involving substantial consequences.

Organisation

The SAI is constituted as an audit office with monocratic status ie. with an auditor general or equivalent as head. The SAI is empowered to engage external auditors/agencies/consultants.

Administrative functions and miscellaneous

The SAI can expend resources under the control of Ministry of finance. At the beginning of each year, the Minister-Delegate submits the annual audit program as well as the plan of action of the institution to the President for prior approval. The audit staff of the SAI are the civil servants appointed by the Head of State. The SAI is subject to an independent audit. It is audited by specialised service of Ministry of Finance. The SAI is required to submit a report on its activities to the President.