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The role of the Italian Corte dei conti

  

 
1.   The Italian Corte dei conti is an Institution with the role of safeguarding public finance and guaranteeing the respect of jurisdictional system.
The Corte pursues these two aims through two functions: the audit function and the jurisdictional function.
According to Article 100 of the Italian Constitution the Corte is responsible for the “a priori” audit of the legality of Government acts, and also for the “a posteriori” audit of the State Budget’s management.
It participates, in the cases and in the manners foreseen by the law, in the assessment of the financial management of those bodies funded by the State on a routine basis. It directly reports to the Chambers of Parliament on its audit findings. The Corte is neither an organ of the Parliament nor of the Government. Article 100 of the Constitution places it in the particular position of organ of constitutional relevance.
  
2.   In the audit field, in order to better enact the Art.100 of the Constitution, the Art. 3 par. 1 of the Law n. 20 of January 14th, 1994 establishes that the Corte dei conti should carry out an “a priori” audit, exclusively of the most significant Government acts expressly listed in the article: they are, essentially, general planning acts of the administration, audited “a priori” for the consequences they produce on the following implementation acts. The provisions of art.3 par. 4 of Law n. 20 introduce the new methodology of auditing, entrusting the Institution with the task of carrying out the “a posteriori” audits on the management of the budget and the capital assets of State departments and of the European Community funds.
This audit takes into account effectiveness (results), efficiency (time and methods) and economy (costs). For this purpose the legislator entrusted the Corte dei conti with the task of setting, on a yearly basis, audit programmes and criteria. Paragraph 4 of the above mentioned article 3 entrusts the Corte also with the task of verifying the functioning of internal audit in each State Department.
The Corte reports, at least once a year, to Parliament and to Regional Councils on the results of audit carried out. There is no obligation to discuss the reports at Parliament or Regional Councils.
 
3.   In the jurisdictional field the Corte’ duties are:
 
a) judgement of responsibilitiy, which concern economic responsibility for damages caused to the State or other public bodies by their own civil servants or public administrators.
b) judgements of accounts, which regard a special responsibility for accounts, connected with the management of public money or property;
c) judgements on pension matters, concerning civil, military and war pensions.
 
The new law regarding the jurisdictional function of the Corte dei conti (Law n. 19/1994) provides for setting up Jurisdictional Chambers of the Corte in each region with the seat in the capital of the region.
Appeals are allowed against the sentences of the Regional Jurisdictional Chambers before the Central Jurisdictional Chambers.
Regional Prosecutor General offices have been set up as a result of the decentralization of the Jurisdictional Chambers.