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Public finance audit: review on Gabon's experience

Gabon's supreme audit institution, like most SAIs, has been tasked with ensuring the proper use of resources within the Gabonese Republic, serving as a bulwark for good governance and the fight against corruption. corruption. The execution of this mandate generally requires much more than an organic decree. SAIs need funds, facilities, trained staff and a responsive audience. This was the case of the SAI of Gabon, which in 2014 was having a hard time fulfilling its mandate.

Thanks to good collaboration with international donors, national stakeholders, INTOSAI and especially the staff of the SAI, Gabon has been able once more to produce audit reports with a strong impact on public policy and national policy. 

The SAI of Gabon is a jurisdictional model (court of accounts) and did not focus on performance auditing. The structure of the SAI and the legal framework did not guarantee secure funding and the auditors' work schedule did not allow these audits to be done. Therefore no mechanism ensured traceability to the Gabonese taxpayer's money and the introduction of the Program Budget only made matters worse.

Externally, the Gabonese parliament also had difficulties understanding the role and mandate of this institution.

In view of all the obstacles, the SAI has requested international support from the INTOSAI-DONATOR Cooperation which, in agreement with donors including the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs has implemented a project including the drafting of a new organic law providing for better financing of the SAI (law which has not yet been approved by the legislature), the performance of three performance audits in very relevant policy areas (construction , health care and national insurance) and the development and implementation of a new communication strategy. SAI staff and leaders have been very actively involved in the management of the project and have progressed further than initially planned by conducting a self-assessment of the SAI's CMP, with the help of the SAI of France. Based on this experience; the SAI of Gabon has also started to implement additional performance audits covering waste management and tax expenditures. The new communication strategy has enabled the level of knowledge of parliamentarians in the institution and its work to be updated.

After four years of struggle and progress, and thanks to strong leadership, cooperation and harmonization of funds, the Gabonese court of audit has improved a lot and has even decided to be a source of emulation for the subregion. She has agreed to participate in the PAP-APP Program (Peer Support Acceleration Program) by providing two resource persons to support the 5 African SAIs operating in difficult environments (DRC, Guinea, Madagascar, Niger, Togo) .

Although the training of additional auditors, the validation of the organic law and the implementation of additional performance audits are yet to be done, the SAI of Gabon is an example of how the Principles of the Memorandum of Understanding can lead to great success in developing the capabilities of an SAI.

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