Remembering Yves Chandelon, NATO Chief Auditor
IRIS · ir-is.org · December 25, 2016 · News Wire #004
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Apparently Mr. Chandelon was working on the last details of his NATO internal audit report when he was murdered in his car in Bonneville (Andenne), Belgium on December 16, 2016.
In all likelihood, that audit report would have become the most important work of his entire career as a professional top-level auditor. Unfortunately, the NATO audit report was of such nature that he paid for it with his life, and that tells us something about what he was going to reveal.
Yves Chandelon did not fear the top brass at NATO and they were well aware of that fact. The only way he could be silenced was with a fatal bullet. And so it happened.
The following text is one of his contributions in a quarterly newsletter, in which he writes about what it means to be an auditor and what “good governance” stands for.
Dear Colleagues and Friends,
This year, my professional destiny will not allow me to join you to participate in the 9th International Conference of the UFAI [Union Francophone de l’Audit Interne] in Abidjan and believe it that I regret it …
Over the years, I have come to know many of you and I was delighted to see you again. This is only partly postponed, other opportunities will present!
“Internal Audit, Actor of the Good Governance”
This title appeals to me for a number of reasons that I will give for your reflections. Good Governance has for some years been a very fashionable topic that many politicians are trying to exploit to restore their coat of arms, that of a party or a country.
However, you will agree with me that it is not enough to levy taxes to rectify deficit accounts or to strengthen police powers … .
Good governance is a collective responsibility, not only to put in place ethical and deontological rules, but also to help the men or women who apply them, to better understand them, and even apply them in a natural and systematic way. Good governance is also about not accepting something easily, it is also accepting to take certain risks to raise the level of transparency and the quality of management of a human society. It is a change of mental behavior, it is a passage from the old habit to the right approach, it is the evolution of a state of mind, it is the march of human society towards progress.
Internal Audit can only be a major player in good governance if, on the one hand, adequate guarantees of independence are offered and on the other hand the will to progress exists in the minds of the leaders.
To have several times in my life practiced the profession in very difficult circumstances, I also think I can add that it is the internal auditor’s task to stimulate leaders to make them want not only to communicate with him, but also to read his report and to test the application of the recommendations formulated. A good internal auditor must impress his superiors with the quality of his knowledge, his sense of diplomacy, his pragmatism and his willingness to contribute to the good growth of the company, the system or his country.
To be a good internal auditor is to be a daring person constantly questioning the value of his knowledge through continuous education, it is also to be a “free” person in his head and probe. And even if one possesses all these qualities, it is also to have the right to practice one’s profession in a democratic environment, tolerant of criticism, as animated by a will to evolve. Thus, little by little, the internal auditor will become the indispensable actor of Good Governance because through it, the proper functioning of internal control will become the engine of development of a healthy and balanced approach to life in society.