A view of the building annexes, part of the Court’s architectural complex, in Brasília
Our Federal Constitution mandates that public organizations and entities of our Country are subject to the internal control of each Branch of Power, as well as to the external control exercised by the National Congress, with the support of the Brazilian Federal Court of Accounts in conducting accounting, financial, budgetary, operational and property audits and inspections to verify the legality, legitimacy, and sound business practices, as well as verifying the application of aid, subsidies and revenue waivers.
Based on the principle of submission to internal and external controls, the sole paragraph of article 70 of the Brazilian Constitution, modified by Constitutional Amendment no. 19, of 1998, states that any individual or public or private legal entity who uses, raises, guards, manages, invests or administers federal public funds, assets and valuables or those which are under Union responsibility, or who take on pecuniary obligations on behalf of the Union must report to the Court.
The Serzedello Corrêa Capacity Building Institute
The internal control of each Branch of Power constitutes, in a way, an imposition of administrative de-centralization, allowing its directors an evaluation mechanism for activities performed outside the sphere of their specific attributions.
External control is, in turn, exercised by the Legislative. At the federal level, the task is ascribed to the National Congress through the joint action of the House of State Representatives and the Senate. To carry out this attribution of external control, the National Congress engages the help of the Brazilian Court of Audit and, as a result, the Court becomes the Union's operative body of external control par excellence.
The constitutionally established internal and external controls, along with the ever present possibility of judgment by the Judiciary, over damage or menace to proper conduct, are the instruments available to the Brazilian State to promote and encourage transparency, probity, and efficiency in the administration of the res publica.