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ISSAI 30 
The International Standards of Supreme Audit Institutions, ISSAI, are issued by the International 
Organization of Supreme Audit Institutions, INTOSAI. For more information visit www.issai.org 
  
I N T O S A I  
Code of Ethics 
 
  

 
 
 

 
 
 

 
 
 
 

 
 
INTOSAI Professional Standards Committee 
PSC-Se  cretariat 
Rigsrevisionen • Landgreven 4 • P.O. Box 9009 • 1022 Copenhagen K • Denmark 
 
Tel.:+45 3392 8400 • Fax:+45 3311 0415 •E-mail: [Imeli aderesi] 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
I N T O S A I
 
 
 
 
EXPERIENTIA MUTUA
EXPERIENTIA MUTUA
OMNIBUS PRODEST
 
OMNIBUS      
PRODEST
 
 
 
 
 
INTOSAI General Secretariat - RECHNUNGSHOF 
(Austrian Court of Audit) 
DAMPFSCHIFFSTRASSE 2 
A-1033 VIENNA 
AUSTRIA 
Tel.: ++43 (1) 711 71     •     Fax: ++43 (1) 718 09 69 
 
E-MAIL: [Imeli aderesi]; 
WORLD WIDE WEB: http://www.intosai.org 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

link to page 5 Table of Contents 
Chapter 1..................................................................................... 4 
Introduction..................................................................................... 4 
Chapter 2..................................................................................... 5 
Integrity ........................................................................................... 5 
Chapter 3..................................................................................... 5 
Independence, Objectivity and Impartiality .................................... 5 
Chapter 4..................................................................................... 6 
Professional Secrecy ....................................................................... 6 
Chapter 5..................................................................................... 6 
Competence ..................................................................................... 6 
Glossary ...................................................................................... 7 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


link to page 4 Chapter 1 
Introduction 
Concept, Background and Purpose of the Code of Ethics 
1. 
INTOSAI has deemed it essential to establish an international Code of Ethics for auditors in the public sector. 
2. 
A Code of Ethics is a comprehensive statement of the values and principles which should guide the daily 
work of auditors. The independence, powers and responsibilities of the public sector auditor place high ethical demands 
on the SAI and the staff they employ or engage for audit work. A code of ethics for auditors in the public sector should 
consider the ethical requirements of civil servants in general and the particular requirements of auditors, including the 
latter’s professional obligations. 
3. 
With the Lima Declaration of Guidelines on Auditing Precepts1 as its foundation, the INTOSAI Code 
of Ethics should be seen as a necessary complement, reinforcing the INTOSAI Auditing Standards issued by the 
INTOSAI Auditing Standards Committee in June 1992. 
4. 
The INTOSAI Code of Ethics is directed at the individual auditor, the head of the SAI, executive officers and 
all individuals working for or on behalf of the SAI who are involved in audit work. However, the Code should not be 
interpreted as having any impact on the organisational structure of the SAI. 
Due to national differences of culture, language, and legal and social systems, it is the responsibility of each SAI to 
develop its own Code of Ethics which best fits its own environment. Preferably these national Codes of Ethics should 
clarify the ethical concepts. The INTOSAI Code of Ethics is intended to constitute a foundation for the national Codes 
of Ethics. Each SAI has the responsibility to ensure that all its auditors acquaint themselves with the values and 
principles contained in the national Code of Ethics and act accordingly. 
5. 
The conduct of auditors should be beyond reproach at all times and in all circumstances. Any deficiency in 
their professional conduct or any improper conduct in their personal life places the integrity of auditors, the SAI that 
they represent, and the quality and validity of their audit work in an unfavourable light, and may raise doubts about the 
reliability and competence of the SAI itself. The adoption and application of a code of ethics for auditors in the public 
sector promotes trust and confidence in the auditors and their work. 
6. 
It is of fundamental importance that the SAI is looked upon with trust, confidence and credibility. The 
auditor promotes this by adopting and applying the ethical requirements of the concepts embodied in the key words 
Integrity, Independence and Objectivity, Confidentiality and Competence. 
Trust, Confidence and Credibility 
7. 
The legislative and/or executive authority, the general public and the audited entities are entitled to expect the 
SAI’s conduct and approach to be above suspicion and reproach and worthy of respect and trust. 
8. 
Auditors should conduct themselves in a manner which promotes co-operation and good relations between 
auditors and within the profession. The support of the profession by its members and their co-operation with one 
another are essential elements of professional character. The public confidence and respect which an auditor enjoys is 
largely the result of the cumulative accomplishments of all auditors, past and present. It is therefore in the interest of 
auditors, as well as that of the general public, that the auditor deals with fellow auditors in a fair and balanced way. 
9. 
The legislative and/or executive authority, the general public and the audited entities should be fully assured 
of the fairness and impartiality of all the SAI’s work. It is therefore essential that there is a national Code of Ethics or 
similar document which governs the provision of the services. 
                 
1 From the IXth Congress of INTOSAI, meeting in Lima. Can be obtained from the INTOSAI General Secretariat in Austria. 
 
 


10. 
In all parts of society there is a need for credibility. It is therefore essential that the reports and opinions of 
the SAI are considered to be thoroughly accurate and reliable by knowledgeable third parties. 
11. 
All work performed by the SAI must stand the test of legislative and/or executive scrutiny, public judgements 
on propriety, and examination against a national Code of Ethics. 
 
Chapter 2 
Integrity 
 
12. 

Integrity is the core value of a Code of Ethics. Auditors have a duty to adhere to high standards of behaviour 
(e.g. honesty and candidness) in the course of their work and in their relationships with the staff of audited entities. In 
order to sustain public confidence, the conduct of auditors should be above suspicion and reproach. 
13. 
Integrity can be measured in terms of what is right and just. Integrity requires auditors to observe both the 
form and the spirit of auditing and ethical standards. Integrity also requires auditors to observe the principles of 
independence and objectivity, maintain irreproachable standards of professional conduct, make decisions with the 
public interest in mind, and apply absolute honesty in carrying out their work and in handling the resources of the SAI. 
 
Chapter 3 
Independence, Objectivity and Impartiality 
 
14. 

Independence from the audited entity and other outside interest groups is indispensable for auditors. This 
implies that auditors should behave in a way that increases, or in no way diminishes, their independence. 
15. 
Auditors should strive not only to be independent of audited entities and other interested groups, but also to 
be objective in dealing with the issues and topics under review. 
16. 
It is essential that auditors are independent and impartial, not only in fact but also in appearance. 
17. 
In all matters relating to the audit work, the independence of auditors should not be impaired by personal or 
external interests. Independence may be impaired, for example, by external pressure or influence on auditors; prejudices 
held by auditors about individuals, audited entities, projects or programmes; recent previous employment with the 
audited entity; or personal or financial dealings which might cause conflicts of loyalties or of interests. Auditors have an 
obligation to refrain from becoming involved in all matters in which they have a vested interest. 
18. 
There is a need for objectivity and impartiality in all work conducted by auditors, particularly in their reports, 
which should be accurate and objective. Conclusions in opinions and reports should, therefore, be based exclusively on 
evidence obtained and assembled in accordance with the SAI’s auditing standards. 
19. 
Auditors should make use of information brought forward by the audited entity and other parties. This 
information is to be taken into account in the opinions expressed by the auditors in an impartial way. The auditor should 
also gather information about the views of the audited entity and other parties. However, the auditors’ own conclusions 
should not be affected by such views. 
Political neutrality 
20. 
It is important to maintain both the actual and perceived political neutrality of the SAI. Therefore, it is 
important that auditors maintain their independence from political influence in order to discharge their audit 
responsibilities in an impartial way. This is relevant for auditors since SAIs work closely with the legislative authorities, 
the executive or other government entity empowered by law to consider the SAI’s reports. 
21. 
It is important that where auditors undertake, or consider undertakingpolitical activities they bear in mind 
the impact which such involvement might have - or be seen to have - on their ability to discharge their professional 
 
 


duties impartially. If auditors are permitted to participate in political activities they have to be aware that these activities 
may lead to professional conflicts
Conflicts of interest 
22. 
When auditors are permitted to provide advice or services other than audit to an audited entity, care should be 
taken that these services do not lead to a conflict of interest. In particular, auditors should ensure that such advice or 
services do not include management responsibilities or powers, which must remain firmly with the management of the 
audited entity
23. 
Auditors should protect their independence and avoid any possible conflict of interest by refusing gifts or 
gratuities which could influence or be perceived as influencing their independence and integrity. 
24. 
Auditors should avoid all relationships with managers and staff in the audited entity and other parties which 
may influence, compromise or threaten the ability of auditors to act and be seen to be acting independently. 
25. 
Auditors should not use their official position for private purposes and should avoid relationships which 
involve the risk of corruption or which may raise doubts about their objectivity and independence. 
26. 
Auditors should not use information received in the performance of their duties as a means of securing 
personal benefit for themselves or for others. Neither should they divulge information which would provide unfair or 
unreasonable advantage to other individuals or organisations, nor should they use such information as a means for 
harming others. 
 
Chapter 4 
Professional Secrecy 
 
27. 

Auditors should not disclose information obtained in the auditing process to third parties, either orally or in 
writing, except for the purposes of meeting the SAI’s statutory or other identified responsibilities as part of the SAI’s 
normal procedures or in accordance with relevant laws. 
 
Chapter 5 
Competence 
 
28. 

Auditors have a duty to conduct themselves in a professional manner at all times and to apply high 
professional standards in carrying out their work to enable them to perform their duties competently and with 
impartiality. 
29. 
Auditors must not undertake work they are not competent to perform. 
30. 
Auditors should know and follow applicable auditing, accounting, and financial management standards, 
policies, procedures and practices. Likewise, they must possess a good understanding of the constitutional, legal and 
institutional principles and standards governing the operations of the audited entity. 
Professional Development 
31. 
Auditors should exercise due professional care in conducting and supervising the audit and in preparing 
related reports. 
32. 
Auditors should use methods and practices of the highest possible quality in their audits. In the conduct of the 
audit and the issue of reports, auditors have a duty to adhere to basic postulates and generally accepted auditing 
standards. 
 
 


33. 
Auditors have a continuous obligation to update and improve the skills required for the discharge of their 
professional responsibilities. 
 
Glossary 
The terms used in this Code of Ethics have the same interpretation or definition as those used in the INTOSAI Auditing 
Standards. 
 
 
 


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