Tanzania Daily News (Dar es Salaam)

15 September 2012

Tanzania: CAG Counsels Media on Audit Reports

THE media should communicate and clarify with the Controller and Auditor General (CAG) on reports before making them public.

CAG, Mr Ludovick Utouh said this when addressing a one-day training workshop for media practitioners and Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs) on how to report and follow up on CAG reports.

Mr Utouh said the media as an oversight organ of the state has a role of reporting and communicating with the public on matters of accountability. "The media have been reporting the deliberations of parliamentarians, they have followed up actions taken by the government in implementation of the CAG's reports and witnessed public officials responsible for embezzlement of public funds being taken to task including being relieved of their positions and others being prosecuted," he said.

He said NGOs, on the other hand, have been on the forefront in educating the public at grass root levels to understand the implications of CAG reports, saying the initiative would enable the public to have a correct perception of what the audit reports mean and the consequences of opinions given in those reports.

The British High Commissioner to Tanzania, Ms Diane Corner, who was the guest of honour, said the role of the CAG could be viewed as a safeguard mechanism intended to maintain financial discipline and integrity of the government and its agencies. Ms Corner said that in recent years, the words transparency, integrity and accountability have been on the lips of every one and that the press has continued to pursue this often dry subject relentlessly, demanding action against culprits implicated in corporate scandals and misuse of public funds.

The High Commissioner said that to improve accountability on collection and the use of public resources, the focal point of all deliberations was to involve various stakeholders, especially the media and their editors and NGOs on suggesting improvements of the annual audit reports of the CAG in order to ensure improved accountability with the aim of improving good governance.

"I am aware of the ongoing reforms within the National Audit Office to improve their functions, and the British government is in full support of these efforts to ensure that the audit office in Tanzania is a proper Supreme Audit Institution in the country, not because of the legislations only but also because its supremacy is coming from the excellent work being performed by the office," she said.

She said that such efforts are necessary to meet the membership requirements of the International Organization of Supreme Audit Institutions (INTOSA) and the African Organization of Supreme Audit Institutions-English speaking Countries (AFROSAI-E), to which the Tanzania National Audit Office is a member.

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