Internal Auditing and Corruption within Government: The Case of the Canadian Sponsorship Program
© 2012 The Canadian Academic Accounting Association
- Accepted manuscript online: 13 DEC 2012 11:17AM EST
- Cited By
This study investigates the role of internal auditing in a major case of corruption within government. It examines the Canadian government's Sponsorship Program (1995-2002), a national unification scheme that saw approximately $50 million diverted to a network of corrupt business executives, politicians and government bureaucrats. Using data derived from archival documents and supplementary interview material, the analysis illustrates how discretion in the audit process allows political considerations to affect audit judgments, circumscribing the ability of auditors to document and report on corrupt practices in the process. By highlighting the notion of the public secret, the analysis also demonstrates the ambiguity that exists regarding both the purpose of audit and the professional responsibilities of auditors. The study further contributes to our understanding of how and why fraud and corruption may occur within government, even in contexts characterized by the presence of robust auditing practices.