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This work titled “Fraud Control in the Local Government System; Challenges and Prospects; A Study of Ebonyi Local Government Area (2003-2014)” was aimed at ascertaining the extent to which Ebonyi Local Government Council keep adequate and reliable records of its activities, examining the extent to which auditing can help in minimizing fraud and mismanagement of resources among the local government workforce in Ebonyi Local Government Area among others. The research was motivated by the inability of the Ebonyi Local Government Council to ensure proper auditing as to limit the rate of fraud in the council. Expectancy theory propounded by Victor Vroom in 1960 was adopted to theoretically guide the study. A survey research design was adopted to study a population of 532 which was reduced using Taro Yamane’s formula to a simple size of 228. Simple random sampling and stratified sampling techniques were used and data were collected from primary and secondary sources. Structured questionnaire instrument was used for data collection while simple percentage method and frequency distribution tables were used to analyze the data gotten from the questionnaire instrument. Chi-square statiacted was used for testing the hypothesis that guided the study. This study however, revealed that Ebonyi Local Government Council keeps adequate and reliable records of its activities through the use of computers and certified receipts, the fraudulent behaviours of revenue officers such as falsification of receipts, non-remittance of collected revenue among others constitute major challenges of Ebonyi Local government council among others. The implication is that is computers and certified revenue receipts are used; fraud can be controlled in the local government system. Hence, this study recommended that Nigerian local government system should adopt the use of computers and certified receipts to effectively keep adequate records; fraudulent behaviours of revenue officers should be curbed in order to control fraud in the local government system among others.
1.1 Background of the Study
The idea of checks and balances were conceptualized as a result of outrageous increase in man’s avarice and crooks, which often result to fraud and aggrandizements.
Fraud is a false representation of matter of fact whether by words or by conduct by false or misleading allegations or by concealment of what should have been disclosed that deceives and is intended to deceive another so that the individual will act upon it to here his legal injury.
However, the introduction of monetary economy and the growth of capitalist exploitative lenders have led to stratification of the society using wealth as prime index, thus increasing the incidence of fraud.
Furthermore, the increased membership of various business organizations, managerial inefficiency poor span of control and lack of effective internal control system sky rocket the incidence of fraud in both private and government establishment.
To minimize wide spread of this problems, certain control and regulatory measures were put in place by government similarly, local government system, which is also a form public sector organization with people of heterogeneous character and background equally adopted these measures.
The emergence of auditing as an administrative tool of checking frauds, errors and other financial irregularities has inevitably contributed to successful existence of several local government system especially where management was in efficient for instance, from it humble beginning, auditing has increased cutting across every activities of an organization both financial and other wise it embraces all forms of internal control mechanism and as an independent examination of book to book to from opinion on whether the financial statement of an organization represent a true and fair view of the business undertaken within a period of time under view.
Through auditing members of local government, the reliability, credibility and authenticity of their administration were assumed. Also fraud and other financial irregularities were to be minimized
However, it is appalling that several local government have not really embrace the significance of auditing of their economic endeavours. This often result to embezzlement and mismanagement of their funds, also poor literacy levels of members and lack of accounting experience make some local government to keep scarcity records of their business which cannot from a strong basis for detailed audit work.
In order to see the extent fraud has dome more harm than good to the success of local government administration a research will be carried out within Ebonyi State, using Ebonyi local government as a case study.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
The inhabitant of Ebonyi State Nigeria has found a lot of local government administration through integrated effort but not all these local government administration perform satisfactorily due to inadequate audit exercise and its underlying consequences on the other hand, some local government which recognized the importance of auditing as one of their statutory obligations have experience some problems which are stated below in a verifiable form.
· Lack of adequate according records could contributed to ineffective audit in local government administration how literacy hard of the local government administration in Ebonyi State is responsible for them poor financial record keeping.
· Irregular auditing give room for fraud and other practice among local government in Nigeria do not participate actively in their business due to lack of confidence arising from infrequent auditing of their local councils.
· The importance of auditing are not well told when auditor are denied to vital accounting record.
· Lack of qualified local government auditors.
The inability of the Ebonyi Local Government Council to ensure proper auditing as to limit the rate of fraud is the problem of this study. In view of the problem, the following questions will guide the study.
(1) To what extent does Ebonyi Local Government Council keep adequate and reliable record of its activities?
(2) To what extent can auditing help to minimize fraud and mismanagement of resources among the local government workforce in Ebonyi Local Government Area?
1.3 Objectives of the Study
The general objective of this research is to find out how fraud can be minimized in Ebonyi Local Government council.
The specific objectives included
(1) To ascertain the extent to which Ebonyi Local Government council keep adequate and reliable records of its activities
(2) To find out the extent to which auditing can help in minimizing fraud and mismanagement of resources among the local government workforce in Ebonyi Local Government Area.
1.4 Research Hypotheses
The following hypotheses were formulated for the study:
HA1: Ebonyi local government council keeps adequate and reliable records of its activities through the use of computers and certified receipts.
HO1: Ebonyi local government council neither uses computers nor certified receipts to ensure adequate and reliable records of its activities.
HA2: Frequent financial auditing in Ebonyi local government has significantly helped in reducing fraud and mismanagement of resources.
HO2: Fraud and mismanagement of resources has not in anyway reduced despite the frequent financial auditing in Ebonyi local government council.
1.5 Significance of the Study
This study will be very significant at its possible beneficiaries abound. Thus the study will enable the students who will use it in future to get sight on auditing and its usefulness to local government system.
It will also, reveal the actual meaning of auditing as tools used in controlling fraud in the local government and its objects and relevance to any concerned individual.
This research might be of great help to member of local government who experience fraud and other financial irregularities, since it will help them to device some workable and reliable remedial strategies toward curbing such threat. More proficiently, this research with obviously assist in widening the research intellectual horizon text his ability to collect, analyze and interpret data as will as assisting the researcher in accomplishing practical requirements for the award of B.Sc (degree) in his discipline.
1.6 Scope and Limitations of the Study
This study covers the entire department in Ebonyi Local Government Area, particularizing on fraud control, challenge and prospects from 2003-2014.
On the other hand, the limitations of the study include time factor, coupled with the coming examination and financial inadequacy, which made it difficult for a research to extend his investigation as he planned. Also the response might not be 100 percent accurate since the sample of the population was only studied. These were overcome through hard work, borrowing and assistance.
1.7 Theoretical Framework
This work adopted the expectantly theory.
The expectancy theory states that the strength of an expectation and the strength of a tendency to act on particular way depends on the strength of an expectancy and the will be followed by a given outcome and attractiveness of that outcome to the individual.
The relevance of the expectancy theory to this study are as follows
The expectancy theory provides a logical way of analyzing the performance of workers. The reason for this is because the theory state, if an individual perceives a relationship between his effort (expectancy) and his ability to perform successfully (first level of outcome), and a relationship instrumentality, he will work very hard. This theory is therefore very relevant to this study.
1.7 Operationalization of the Key Concepts
Local government: This is the system of government of a town or an area by elected representatives of people who live there.
Auditing: It is the independent examination of financial statement of an organization with a view to express out opinion as to whether these statements gives a true and fair view and comply with the relevant statutes.
Fraud: could be defined as dishonesty calculated for advantage.
Challenges: This is a statement or an action that shows that somebody refuses to accept something and questions whether it is right legal etc.
Prospects: It is an idea of what might or will happen in the future.
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