What history can teach us

Dear Editor,

Re: Time to deal with audit reports 

Dictatorship is poles apart from the constitutional control of finance.

Questions of finance are questions of power, and from the openness and quality of accountability and control the political fate of a state ‘can be read, as if from a barometer ‘. Heinig contrasts constitutional methods with the alternative of tyranny.

Dictatorship is poles apart from the constitutional control of finance. If

political criticism were permissible it would be a limitation of that power which monopolizes decision.

Critical discussion and study of financial administration, its expenditures and receipts, its monetary and credit policies, are equally intolerable to it— or else it is no longer dictatorship. 

Of course, orderly bookkeeping and accountancy are possible under a dictator. Absolutism often insists that revenue be precisely recorded and that the spending authorities keep proper books.

Absolute rulers have usually maintained a close check upon their officials.

Such control involves no obligation of accountability towards a third party, no duty to submit to an assessment of policies and the success thereof, nor to answer for the object and results of expenditures; it is useless for these purposes. Usurping power is able to count, but it refuses to render account to anyone else.

The budget which is completely under an uncontrolled executive is exposed to all kinds of abuse. It has no real defences against the underground influences of the courtiers, the clique, the gang, the lobby clientele, the notables and the favourites. This can be studied from current history.’

An independent audit, according to Heinig, is an essential element of the constitutional and democratic form of the state.’

From `The Accountability and Audit of Governments: A Comparative Study By E. L. Normanton 1966.


Maua Faleauto

Trending Stories

Samoa Observer

Upgrade to Premium

Subscribe to
Samoa Observer Online

Enjoy access to over a thousand articles per month, on any device.

Ready to signup?