International Journal of Governmental Financial Management
It has been argued that General State Inspectorates should not be considered as external auditorsor supreme audit institutions as they are part of the executive branch of government. In contrastthe Courts of Accounts
(Cours des comptes) are claimed to be outside and functionallyindependent of the executive.General State Inspectorates are usually appointed by the president (or sometimes by the primeminister) and their annual reports are sent to these officials rather than to parliament. However,this may also be the case for Court of Accounts and, indeed for Auditors General in Anglophonecountries. Independence is not easy to achieve or maintain for any Supreme Audit Institution.The current president of the Court of Accounts in France was, for example, appointed bySarkozy, the French president, in early 2010. In addition, the judiciary and indeed parliaments inSub-Saharan Africa do not have the independence achieved in many OECD countries, forexample, the Africa Peer Review Mechanism (2008: 120) report on Burkina Faso concluded that:
the Executive is dominant and is hardly limited by the legislature and the judiciary, bothof which are weak as regards checks and balances.
This paper uses INTOSAI guidance to assess the relative levels of independence of the GeneralState Inspectorate and the Court of Accounts in Francophone Sub-Saharan African countries.In 2007 INTOSAI, the international body of Supreme Audit Institutions (including Courts of Accounts, General State Inspectorates and Auditors General as its members), then meeting inMexico, issued a declaration on independence (INTOSAI, 2007). This
includes the following eight principles on independence:
The existence of an appropriate and effective constitutional/statutory/legal framework and of de facto application provisions of this framework
The independence of SAI heads and members (of collegial institutions), includingsecurity of tenure and legal immunity in the normal discharge of their duties
A sufficiently broad mandate and full discretion, in the discharge of SAI functions
Unrestricted access to information
The right and obligation to report on their work
The freedom to decide the content and timing of audit reports and to publish anddisseminate them
The existence of effective follow-up mechanisms on SAI recommendations
Similarly this term is used for this type of organisation whether an independent court (Cour des comptes) or partof the supreme court (Chambre des comptes).