Among the various lotteries in Brazil (and there are many) is one that does not pay out prizes; it selects muncipalities that are to be closely inspected by the country’s equivalent of the US General Accounting Office (GAO).
Brazil’s “Controladoria Geral da União” (CGU) [General Comptroller of the Union – in a literal translation] is run by minister of Control and Transparency, Waldir Pires.
“Our activities have definitely had a positive effect on the relationship between the public and the government. We are promoting a revolution in the citizen’s perception of how public money should be used.
“One thing is for sure: spending taxpayer money has to be an open, transparent process. No secrets,” declared Pires in a TV Nacional (Radiobras) interview this week.
In November the CGU inaugurated an internet “Transparency Portal” – http://www.portaltransparencia.gov.br/Portal.asp, – which makes budgetary information available to the public. It’s the Portal da Transparência, which is directly subordinated to Brazil’s presidency.
“The spending of public monies is not just something government officials and their agencies do. Citizens need to participate and should be aware of what is being done with their money,” said Pires.
The minister explained that municipalities selected in the lottery for inspection get the fine-tooth comb treatment: not just a look at documents, but a close look at where the money is supposed to have been used.
“We have to go beyond a look at the books and receipts. We need to see if work that was paid for with taxpayer money really got done,” he concluded.
Translation: Allen Bennett