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Decentralization: the Accounts Chamber wants more power

11 July 2020 0

This organ of the Supreme Court wants its powers over decentralized local authorities to be increased in terms of control of finances.

The acceleration of the decentralization process through the General Code of Decentralized Territorial Collectivities sets in motion many institutions. Among them, the Supreme Court's Chamber of Accounts, which has a major role in controlling the finances of these entities. Thus, the 22nd Exchange Forum between the National Assembly’s Finance and Budget Committee and the Supreme Court’s Chamber of Accounts enabled the latter to address some demands. Notably the revision of the organic law of the institution.

These claims prompted the financial jurisdiction chaired-interim- by Fofung Justine Nambum to start work on the texts that constitute it. Thus, in 2019 was adopted in the Council Chamber, a preliminary organic law. The said text allocates powers to the Audit Chamber of the Supreme Court in "examining management, sanctioning management errors, evaluating public policies, assisting parliament and government, etc.". Concretely, it is a question of modifying the law of April 21, 2003 fixing the attributions, the organization and the functioning of the said jurisdiction.

Regional courts of accounts

Created by the Constitutions of January 18, 1996 and organized by Law No. 2006/01 of December 27, 2006, the regional courts of accounts (Trc) are lower courts of accounts. They are responsible, within the framework of decentralization, for controlling the accounts of decentralized local authorities and their public establishments. However, these jurisdictions do not exist despite the existence of the aforementioned law. The Accounts Chamber of the Supreme Court therefore hopes that the government will work to create them in the different regions.

The financial jurisdiction, beyond calling for the creation of the TRCs, also requests the modification of the texts which organize it. In particular, the law of December 26, 2006 establishing the organization, powers and operation of the Regional Courts of Accounts. One of the arguments put forward by the Audit Chamber of the Supreme Court is the strengthening of good governance as a tool facilitating proximity with local public finance managers.

Activity Report 2017

It should be noted that the 22nd Exchange Forum between the Finance and Budget Commission of the National Assembly and the Chamber of Accounts of the Supreme Court revealed shortcomings in the control of your financial jurisdiction. The latter, which is still under consideration for publication (subject of work on Tuesday, June 30, 2020) of the Annual Public Activity Report for the financial year 2017, found some encouraging figures. The financial jurisdiction thus ensures that in terms of administrative control of the financial statements of public and parapublic sector companies the accounts are not good. Of the 63 accounts expected, only 28 have been deposited.

On the jurisdictional level (management accounts of the chief accountants of the Treasury, municipal receivers and accounting agents), the rate of production of the accounts of the public accountants of the State is 69.23%. It is lower than in 2016 which was 92.30%. For decentralized local authorities it is 15.24%.

As a reminder, these claims come in a context marked by the existence since 2018 of two laws framing public finances in Cameroon The law of July 11, 2018 on the financial regime of the State and other public entities, and that on the Transparency Code and good governance. Texts which link Cameroon to the Directives of the Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa (Cemac).

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