Tanzania before and after independence

The history of the office goes hand in hand with the history of the country. Historically Tanzania was a colony of the Germans and later a protectorate of the British. The then Tanganyika Territory, was a British colony between 1919 and 1961. During the 1st World War 1914 – 1919 the Germans were defeated by the British and the then German Empire collapsed. After this, the League of Nations gave control of Tanganyika to the United Kingdom. The United Kingdom held Tanganyika as a League of Nations Mandate territory until the end of the Second World War (1945) after which it was held as a United Nations Trust Territory.In 1961, Tanganyika Territory gained its independence from the United Kingdom. It became a republic a year later but stayed in the British Commonwealth of Nations. Tanganyika now forms part of the modern day state of the United Republic of Tanzania after the union between the then Tanganyika and Zanzibar on 26th April, 1964.

The colonial audit service

Before 1st October, 1954, the organ overseeing the audit service within the British Colonial Territories was known as Colonial Audit Service.Later on the service was designated and known as the Overseas Audit Services. The Overseas Audit Services comprised of all officers of the former Colonial Audit Service and all persons appointed by the Secretary of State to serve the Overseas Audit Service on or after the 1st October,1954. The head of Overseas Audit Service was designated and known as Director General of the Overseas Audit Service. The headquarters of the service was based in England at Queen Anne’s Chambers,  DeanFarrar Street, London, S.W. England.The Director General was responsible to the Secretary of State for the control of the service and supervision of the audit of all public accounts in the colonial territories where the audit was placed under his direction. The territories including Tanganyika Territory were known as territories within the Overseas Audit System. Officers of the Audit Service were selected for appointment, promotion and secondment to the post other than their substantive appointment by Secretary of State after the recommendation of the Director General of the Overseas Audit Service. Likewise, the transfer of officers was done by the Secretary of State after having received recommendations of the Director General of the Overseas Audit Service on that matter.All employment matters of all officers of the Audit Service were governed by the directions of the Secretary of State that were given in accordance with the applicable General Instructions and Rules of the Overseas Audit Department12.During that time, the scheme of service was categorized into three major ranks namely; European Pension Scheme (Officers rank), Asian Pension Scheme (Examiners of Accounts) and African Pension Scheme(Audit Clerks).


Evolution of the office

During British Colonialism and soon before independence of Tanganyika,the National Audit Office was called “the Audit Department”. It was part of the British Overseas Audit Services based in London, England.The head of this office was called the Director of Audit as per the Audit Ordinance cap 386  that was governing audit activities since 1957.The daily audit activities of the Audit Department were governed by Colonial Regulations and General Instructions and Rules of the Overseas Audit Department in London17. The office had only one office located in Dar es Salaam at Kivukoni Front Street. It was auditing the accounts of the whole government as the Government management system was centralized. The first branch to be opened in the country was Arusha Audit Branch; the main auditee of this branch was the Tanganyika Custodian of the Enemy Property Department based in Arusha. This department was established by the British colony following the defeat of Germany colonialists in Tanganyika during the First World War.After the end of the first World war, all homes, estates, businesses and infrastructures belonging to the Germans were abandoned. In 1919 when Britain became the new colonial master of Tanganyika Territory it established this Department to manage the properties which formerly belonged to the Germans . The Office continued to expand itself, whereby in 1959 it had four stations Dar es Salaam being the headquarter and three upcountry stations which were Mwanza, Tanga and Arusha.On the 1st July, 1961, four months and eight days before the independence of Tanganyika, the Exchequer and Audit Ordinance of 1961 came into force. This law changed the name of the Audit Department to the Exchequer and Audit Department. The Ordinance changed the name of the head of the Audit Department to become the Controller and Auditor General (CAG). The mandate of the CAG was enshrined under Article 73 of the Constitution of Tanganyika that came into force immediately before the 9th December, 1961. Th e main duties of the CAG and his office were Controllership and Auditing; where by the Controllership duty was exclusively the CAG’s duty. These duties were further expounded in the Exchequer and Audit Ordinance of 1961. In 1962 the Republican Constitution of Tanganyika was adopted. This marked the beginning of the Presidential system of government whereby the Presidential powers as head of state and the government that were previously the powers of Governor General and the Prime Minister in the former constitution were merged. The power to appoint the Controller and Auditor General was vested into to the President. On 9th July 1965, the Interim Constitution of Tanzania was enacted and came into force. This constitution was further followed by the Constitution of the United Republic of Tanzania of 1977 which is the current Constitution. All these constitutions provided for the mandate, responsibilities and independence of the CAG. In 2001, following the growth of the country’s economy and the need for further control of the use of public moneys, the Exchequer and Audit Ordinance, 1961 was repealed by the Public Finance Act, No.6 of 2001 (revised 2004) which continued to expound more on the functions, responsibilities and powers of the CAG. This law changed the name Exchequer and Audit Department to the present National Audit Office of Tanzania.To suit the current development in auditing, Tanzania decided to enact the Public Audit Act, No. 11 of 2008. This law governs the operations of the National Audit Office. Among major issues introduced by this

law are:-

  • Tenure of the CAG.
  • Retirement age of the CAG.
  • Widening the scope of the audit.
  • Adoption of International Auditing Standards.
  • Financial independence.
  • Appointment of External Auditor of the National Audit Offi ce.



The National Audit Office of Tanzania (NAOT) is the Supreme Audit  Institution of the United Republic of Tanzania headed by the Controller and Auditor General (CAG). Its mandate is enshrined under Article 143 of the Constitution of the United Republic of Tanzania. The powers and mandate of the CAG are clearly stipulated in Sections 11 and 12 of the Public Audit Act.

The powers, functions and responsibilities of the Controller and Auditor General have been governed by four different constitutions since Independence. The four constitutions being referred to are,the Independence Constitution of Tanganyika28, the Republican Constitution of Tanganyika, the Interim Constitution of the United Republic of Tanzania30 and the Constitution of the United Republic of Tanzania. These four constitutions had explicitly stated the Constitutional mandate, the powers, the functions and the responsibilities of the CAG, as the controllership of funds from the Consolidated Fund and auditing of the use of such funds. These constitutions had further elaborated on the powers of the CAG such as to have unrestricted access of books of accounts and any other information that is the subject of audit. Moreover, this constitution have all along provided for independence of the CAG that when performing his function, he should not be subject to any order or direction from any Government Department or any person on any issue concerning such audit.The provisions concerning the constitutional mandate of the CAG within these four constitutions had been expounded by three Acts of Parliament since independence. The first Act of Parliament was the Exchequer and Audit Ordinance, 1961, that came into force on 1st  July,1961. This Act was repealed and replaced by the Public Finance Act,No 6 of 2001. In 2008 there arose a need to have an independent legislation governing auditing activities in the country. This was in accordance with the Lima Declaration for Supreme Audit Institutions and the need to have one comprehensive law that governs auditing and at the same time guarantee the adherence to the accountability systems that are in place. On the basis of this need, the Public Audit Act, No. 11 of 2008 was enacted. All these laws provided powers, functions and responsibilities of the CAG. The laws gave mandate to the CAG to examine, inquire into and audit the accounts of all accounting officers and receivers of revenue on behalf of the National Assembly.In exercising this mandate, the CAG has powers to call upon any officer for any explanation and information. Also the CAG has powers to authorize any person publicly carrying on the profession of an accountant or an auditor or any other expert to carry out any inquiry,examination or audit and has powers of disallowing any payments made illegally.


The main difference between the Exchequer and Audit Ordinance and the Public Finance Act was that the former was based on Regularity audit  while the latter widened the scope of audit to include among others value for money audit. Likewise, the advent of the Public Audit Act in 2008 widening further the scope of audit functions by adding forensic audit, environmental audit and any other audits.


Comments are closed.