How the colonial legacy frames state audit institutions in Benin that fail to curb corruption
journal contributionposted on 02.02.2021, 11:26 by PJC Lassou, Trevor Hopper, C Ntim
© 2020 Elsevier Ltd Supreme audit institutions are an important pillar of governance and government resource management, particularly for controlling corruption. Francophone African countries inherited these from their former colonial power, France, but their role and function are limited. This paper argues that this is partly a legacy of their colonial experience. It investigates the Chamber of Accounts in Benin, the country's supreme audit institution, using the lenses of Ekeh (1975) two publics and legitimacy theory. Nonetheless, Ekeh's theory needed extending to incorporate changes affecting governance after Benin's independence. The amorality of political officials, accepted by much of Benin society, rendered the institution largely ineffective in controlling corruption. Nevertheless, civil society organizations, donors, and the World Bank and International Monetary Fund have attempted to redress this. Politicians and government officials responded by engaging in symbolic compliance to meet stakeholders’ expectations. A separate audit institution – the General Inspectorate of State – was established under the sole control of the President to gain external legitimacy and retain donors’ budget support, whilst persistent corruption and rising poverty continue. Benin's auditing institutions have become empty crates, which sometimes facilitate rather than control corruption.