Each year, Tanzanian citizens eagerly wait to listen to and read the General Audit Report by the Controller and Auditor General (“the CAG”) for the preceding financial year. Recently, the CAG submitted his Audited Reports for the year 2021/22. The Report has caused an outcry from the public, pointing to mismanagement of public funds, among other things. But how well do we understand the office of the CAG of Tanzania? Why it exists, and what are its functions? What happens to the reports released?

This brief will answer these questions.

What is the Office of the CAG?

The office of the CAG has been established by Article 143(1) of the Constitution of Tanzania, 1977, as amended (“Constitution”). It exists due to the need for accountability, transparency and good governance. As per Article 143(3) of the Constitution, the CAG and every employee authorized by him, have the right to unrestricted access to any information necessary for the execution of his duties, including books, records, statements of accounts, reports and all other documents relating to any government account.

Functions of the office of the CAG

Articles 143(2) and 143(5) of the Constitution, Sections 5 and 9 of the Public Audit Act, Cap 418 Revised Edition 2021 (“the Act”) and Regulation 30 of the Public Audit Regulations, 2009 charge the CAG with the following functions, namely:

  • To authorize the money to be paid out of the consolidated fund.
  • To ensure that the money which have been authorized to be charged on the consolidated fund or money whose use has been authorized by law has been applied as per the intended purposes and as authorized.
  •  To audit and give audit report on the accounts, financial statements and financial management of the Government, Judiciary and National Assembly at least once yearly.

In addition to the above functions, the CAG may, examine, inquire into, and audit the accounts submitted to him as required under the Public Finance Act, Local Government Finances Act or any other written laws on behalf of the National Assembly.

It is important to note that, in performing his functions, the CAG is not obliged to comply with an order or direction of any other person. However, a court can still exercise its jurisdiction to enquire into whether the CAG has discharged his functions according to the provisions of the Constitution or not. This is as per Article 143(6) of the Constitution.

Reports by the CAG

Upon concluding the audits, the CAG issues reports on the main findings. Article 143(4) of the Constitution requires the CAG to submit the said Reports to the President. After that, the reports are submitted to the National Assembly by persons directed by the President or by the CAG if the President does not take steps to do so. In addition to the main findings, these reports also makes/states recommendations for better management of public resources as required by Section 12 of the Act and Regulations 34 to 36 of the Public Audit Regulations, 2009.

They are made to an appropriate Minister who is to acknowledge receipt in writing as required by Regulation 37. Within three months, the appropriate Minister is to communicate to the CAG the extent to which the recommendations have been implemented (Regulation 38). And if they have not been implemented in whole or in part, the said Minister is to provide for the reasons for such failure. He is to also state the time within which the unimplemented parts of the recommendations will be implemented (Regulations 38 and 39). If the CAG is of the opinion that the appropriate minister has failed to implement the recommendations without reasonable cause, Regulation 41 requires him to write to the minister to insist on the implementation. And ultimately, if the recommendations are still not implemented without reasonable cause, then Regulation 42 empowers the CAG to report the matter to the President who will cause it to be submitted to the National Assembly.

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