Egypt's public finance watchdog to have greater powers: Justice Minister

Ahram Online, Thursday 11 Oct 2012

Under new decree, those keeping tabs on state spending will have the right to refer lawbreakers directly to prosecution

 Justice Minister
Mekky's decision could wrest more powers for the CAO (Photo: Reuters)

Auditors at Egypt's Central Auditing Organisation (CAO) are to have the right to refer infringements directly to the prosecutor, without getting clearance from senior officials, the minister of justice said on Wednesday.

A report from state-run news agency MENA said that minister Ahmed Mekki had given CAO employees who audit public finance documents the right of "apprehensive jurisdiction." 
Mekki's decision could form part of a much-anticipated shake-up in the public finance watchdog, which supervises the spending of public money and which employees allege is too close to Egypt's ruling authorities.
Since January 2011's uprising, staff have held sporadic protests to push for greater independence for the state body, which they say will help it protect public money.
Critics claim a series of Mubarak-era reforms limited the power of the CAO, making it unable to adequately monitor state corruption.
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