Somalia's new audit legislation is at risk of falling below international standards, leaving the Auditor General vulnerable to political pressure.
The Federal Republic of Somalia has a historic opportunity to secure a modern, effective and credible audit office. This is critical for good governance and the effective fight against corruption in the country. However, the INTOSAI Development Initiative (IDI)* is concerned the audit bill being discussed now in Parliament lacks important safeguards for the independence of the Office of the Auditor General (OAG), in particular related to the appointment and removal of its leadership.
In a statement released today, IDI is calling on the Parliament to take fully into account the international standards for Supreme Audit Institutions when concluding on the Federal Audit Bill.
“The Office of the Auditor General has shown incredible progress over the last few years, and its most recent report shows an institution dedicated to adding value to the country," says IDI Director General, Mr. Einar Gørrissen. "However, its legal framework is outdated. We are encouraged to see the new audit bill moving in Parliament, but concerned that the current version could leave the OAG’s independence at risk. The procedures for the appointment and removal of the Auditor General need to provide adequate safeguards from interference by the Executive.”
Through their audits, institutions like the OAG seek to provide objective information about major financial irregularities, lack of compliance with laws and regulations, and the ways in which public sector entities can improve their service delivery to citizens. The United Nations General Assembly has passed two resolutions (A/66/209 and A/69/228) recognizing the important role of audit institutions for better public administration and development. According to the UN, audit offices can only be effective if they are independent of the entities they audit and are protected from outside influence.
Parliament is therefore encouraged to ensure that the independence of the OAG is enshrined in this new legislation.
The statement can be read in full below:
*IDI is the capacity development arm of the International Organization of Supreme Audit Institutions. We have a global mandate to enhance the capacity and performance of developing country SAIs. IDI has worked closely with the OAG since 2018 and, together with AFROSAI-E and peers from the region, is providing technical guidance for auditing, internal governance and the legal framework. For further information, please see our Introduction to IDI. For additional comments, please get in touch with IDI.