COA officials led by Chairperson Michael G. Aguinaldo (center), Commissioner Heidi L. Mendoza (4th from left) and Commissioner Jose A. Fabia (4th from right) with the team from the Zanzibar Anti-Corruption and Economic Crimes Authority after the team’s visit to COA to study COA roles and mandate in the fight against corruption.

Commission on Audit (COA) officials briefed a team from the Zanzibar Anti-Corruption and Economic Crimes Authority (ZACECA) of Tanzania on COA’s roles and mandate in the fight against corruption as well as issues and challenges on audit intervention during a study tour held on June 22, 2015.

Assistant Commissioner Alexander B. Juliano discussed COA’s anti-corruption mandate, including “prevention/disallowance of irregular, unnecessary, excessive, extravagant, or unconscionable expenditures, or uses of government funds and properties.” He also described fraud and forensic audits which COA conducts, the Citizen Participatory Audit project which was founded on the rationale that public accountability can foster only with vigilance of the citizenry, and other anti-corruption programs of COA such as the creation of a Prosecution and Litigation Office tasked to initiate complaints and assist in the prosecution of cases arising from audit actions, and initiatives as a permanent member of the Inter-agency Anti-Graft Coordinating Council. 

The team from Tanzania was composed of ZACECA Acting Director General Mr. Ali Juma Haji and Acting Head of Investigation Mr. Khamis Bakar Amani accompanied by United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Analyst Ms. Fe Cabral. The UNDP together with the Office of the Ombudsman organized the Tanzania study tour on anti-corruption in the Philippines which ran from June 22 to 26, 2015.

COA Chairman Michael G. Aguinaldo, Commissioners Heidi L. Mendoza and Jose A. Fabia, Assistant Commissioner Luz L. Tolentino, Director Jonathan B. Beltran, and Assistant Director Eugenio R. Dizon also attended the meeting and answered questions from the Tanzanian team during the open forum.

Aside from COA, the team from Zanzibar also visited the UNDP Country Office, the Office of the Ombudsman, the Sandiganbayan, the House of Representatives—House Committee on Good Governance and Public Accountability, the Anti-Money Laundering Council, the Department of Justice, and various civil society organizations and anti-corruption advocates.

The study tour aims to strengthen the capabilities of ZACECA as an institution to perform its mandate to investigate anti-corruption cases by engaging and learning from the experiences of a country with more mature anti-corruption infrastructures and mechanisms and more vibrant civil society. # - Dennis Cariño