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Financial controls to control corruption in an African country: insider experts within an enabling environment

Lassou, Philippe and Hopper, Trevor H and Soobaroyen, Teerooven (2021) 'Financial controls to control corruption in an African country: insider experts within an enabling environment.' Financial Accountability and Management, 37 (2). pp. 107-123. ISSN 0267-4424

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This paper analyses an implementation of a government accounting reform in Benin directed at redressing fraudulent and corrupt practices. Whilst reforms to improve public administration and to mitigate corruption in Africa often have disappointing outcomes, our case study involving systems for the payment of supplier invoices, payroll matters and debt certificates had encouraging findings. The systems reduced inefficiencies and corrupt practices. An ‘enabling environment’ (its main elements being emancipatory space, empowered participation and ethical leadership), encouraged the deeper involvement of committed, expert and ethical local civil servants in establishing effective financial controls. In the context of anti-corruption reforms, it illustrates that public sector organisations in Africa should not invariably be regarded as monolithic bureaucratic top-down entities, staffed by civil servants who are either passive ‘bystanders’, or purely self-interested ‘players’ or insufficiently expert and hence the need for more training, and imported, expensive accounting systems implemented by foreign consultants. In contrast, the paper argues that, within a suitable environment, granting indigenous ethical and willing experts sufficient latitude to enact incremental yet substantive accounting changes at the local level may be more effective.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: government accounting; Benin; Africa; Corruption; Enabling environment
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences
Faculty of Social Sciences > Essex Business School
Faculty of Social Sciences > Essex Business School > Essex Accounting Centre
SWORD Depositor: Elements
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 28 Jan 2020 17:56
Last Modified: 13 Apr 2022 01:00

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