EFFECTIVE INTERNAL CONTROL MEASURES AS TOOLS FOR TRANPARENCY, PROBITY AND ACCOUNTABILITY IN THE MANAGEMENT OF PUBLIC RESOURCES
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
The need for effective internal control measures as tools for transparency, probity and accountability in the management of public resources cannot be over emphasized. This starts from the fact that right from the creation of the world, means in-seniority cannot be compromised. As a result of that, there is need to make rules or laws guiding financial management or internal control for proper discharge of responsibilities.
Thus, internal rules and regulations, financial laws, constitutions, criminal coders, audit Act of 1958, appropriate Act, treasury circulars and Audit circulars, represent steps forwards in trying to control man’s management of public resources.
Corruption in Nigeria has earned for itself official recognition. The level of corruption has become so alarming that Nigeria’s reputation is being denoted abroad. This informs the reasons for the formation of anti-corruption Act by the present government headed by president Olusegun Obasanjo whose seal on the issue assisted in the early drafting of the anti-corruption will which later passed into law, having gone through the legislative process. The law to be cited as prohibition and punishment of bribery, corruption and other related offences act is meant to curb all forms of social, economic, politically corruption that has continually (hinder the growth of the ratio undermine public accountability, transparency and probity in the management of public resources.
The act is to be implemented through independent corrupt practices and Allied offences commission to be headed and composed of men and women of high integrity and transparent honesty to be appointed by the president, subject to the approval of the relational Assembly. However, experience in the past has shown that more often than not, those entrusted with the duty of enforcing or preserving any state law break and undermine such laws. This has been described as ‘Nigerian” factor?
The installation of an efficient internal control mechanism into the public sector management are important steps assuring the general public the accountability and transparency of public officials for their stewardship as custodians of public resources.
1.2 STATEMENT OF PROBLEMS
The term mismanagement, misappropriation, misapplication and embezzlement are synonymous Mismanagement or misappropriate is the unauthorized, improper and unlawful use of fund or other properties for purpose other than that for which it is intended.
To give impression that fraud, embezzlement, misapplication of public fund suit because of lack of internal control, in government as claimed by the conference of the federal and state auditor general in Nigeria in their preface to “exposure daft” on public sector, internal control standard in May 1998 was uncharitable. The internal auditor passes salaries vouchers. Therefore, fraud and mismanagement of fraud does not exist because of absence of internal control but because operators have decided to set the control aside for selfish immediate benefit, irrespective of its consequence to a local government or the nation.
The following are issues, which lead to fraud and misappropriation of local government(s) fund:
1. Borrowing of funds for capital projects, only to be misappropriated by the three wise-men-chairman, secretary and treasurer.
2. Misrepresentation of actual receipt of funds from federal accounts and VAT receipts.
3. Questionable overhead expenditure on security.
4. Illegal overhead expenditure.
5. Payment of council funds fictitious projects.
6. Payment of council fund for the jobs not recounted.
7. Over pricing by works officers of direct labour job contracts.
8. Misappropriation of local government(S) fund through collusion of chairman, secretary and treasurer.
9. Inflation of salary bills by the three wise-men.
10. Misappropriation of special greats from the federal or state or their agencies.
The above issues account for nearly 100% of the cases of fraud and misappropriation of fund from local government.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
In view of the over view of the study and statement of problems already discussed, this work aims at achieving the following objectives:
1) To identify the problems and the causes of the problems of internal control in the local government(s).
2) To evaluate the roles played by the management in resolving the inadequacy or ineffectiveness of internal control towards the achievement of planned objectives of the local government(s) council.