What is the State Audit Institution?

The State Audit Institution, an independent watchdog set up in 1976, investigates any financial irregularities uncovered in federal organisations.

It has the power to quiz officials and staff and suspend them, review documents and records and use "all means" to recover funds that have been spent illegally.

Last year, the SAI uncovered more than 10 cases in which public funds were misappropriated or misused, including instances of forgery, bribery and fraud. The cases were all referred to prosecutors, and in a single year more than Dh1 billion was recovered.

The watchdog's president, Dr Harib Saeed Al Amimi, said: "The SAI is considered the supreme external audit institution of the United Arab Emirates. It practices audit over federal Government organisations."

The organisations it audits include ministries and federal departments, the Federal National Council and corporations in which the country has a stake of 25 per cent or more.

It can audit any government organisation in any emirate if asked to do so by the emirate's Ruler.