The political and financial external control of the management of – public funds is a mission entrusted to the State under the democratic Rule of Law. In the present, tax-paying citizens who require more and more accuracy, responsibility and transparency in the management of pu¬blic resources zealously demand its fulfillment. Citizens examine these qualities to have the necessary trust in the institutions that undertake external control.
The Court of Accounts of Portugal (Tribunal de Contas) has the constitutional mandate of carrying out the external control of public management. A sovereign institution supervises the economic and financial manage¬ment of the Federal Administration, its jurisdiction covers all actors that in any way manage public funds. It acts as a guardian on behalf of the original holders of the right to these funds.
The aim of this article is to analyze public auditing in its condition of an instrument of control par excellence, used by the Portuguese Court of Accounts both as a dis¬suasive and investigative instrument against corruption, particularly by the specific techniques of forensic auditing. Even though forensic audits are not encompassed by the fundamental role and primary aim of the Supreme Audit Institutions, a result of their usefulness is that they are now internationally recognized as a valuable contribution in the combat against corruption.