The question on how to
increase efficiency and positive result in audit work in public sector
is a perennial problem in Nigeria, and one that is increasing warning
the generality of the people of this country. The response has been to
upgrade the quality of audit staff ad powers conferred on audit
institutions in the public sector. There is also the for training of
audit staff in modern techniques of auditing to enhance effectiveness
and result oriented rather than restricting them to the traditional
methods of trick and turnover which is inadequate and outdated.
Public sector auditing is
conferred towards ensuring the proper and efficient use of public funds,
development of sound financial management, the orderly executive
administrative activities and the communication of information to the
public through the publication of objective reports. These are necessary
for the stability and development of the nation. There is a need to map
out the machineries and method of carrying out a research functions
effectively as to achieve a desired result.
In the past, the emphasis of
an audit was on the traditional approach which ha been mainly the
compliance audit to ensure that all books and records comply with the
laid down procedures and regulation. But in the modern time, there is
the need for a shift of emphasis to modern concept of effectiveness and
Based on these individual
views of auditing and its functions, the researcher took a keen inherent
to rest empirically auditing as an aid to accountability with a
particular reference to Enugu State Ministry of Finance and economic
The increase incidence of
fraud and misappropriation of public fund and property by the accounting
officers and chief executives in the public sector/ service passes a
question as to whether auditing plays any role towards ensuring proper
accountability in the public service especially the state government and
particularly the ministry of finance and economic development.
Auditing is to control, deter
and find out any fraud or misappropriation of public fund or property by
officers entrusted with such duties.
It is because of this onerous
task that the Enugu state audit department was established to appraise
the work of those entrusted with responsibility of accountability.
Government undertakes various
transactions through its representatives or agencies and as such, they
are required by law to give account of their stewardship. To achieve
these purposes, the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria
provides a law established audit department both at the Federal and
State levels. Section 125 (1) of the 1999 constitution provides that
there shall be an Audit General for the federation and for each state of
the federation who shall be appointed in accordance with the provision
of section 126 of this constitution. The sub-section (2) of this section
provides that the public accounts of a state and all offices,
ministries, parastatals, and the courts of the state shall be audited by
the auditor-general for the state who shall submit his reports to the
House of Assembly of the state concerned. Therefore the auditor general
or any person authorized by him in that behalf shall have access to all
the books, records, returns, and other documents relating to those
accounts. The sub-section (2) (3) of this constitution shall be
constrained as authorizing the auditor-general to auditor-general to
audit the accounts of or appoint auditor for government statutory
corporations, commissions authorities, agencies, including all persons
and bodies established by law but the auditor general shall, (a) provide
such bodies with,
(i) A list of auditors qualified to
be appointed by them as external auditors and from which the bodies
shall appoint their external auditors and;
(ii) A guideline on the level of dues to be paid to the external auditors and;
(iii) Comments on their annual
accounts and auditor’s report there on. The sub-section (4) of this
constitution also states that the auditor-general for the state shall
have power to conduct a periodic check of all government statutory
agencies, including all persons and bodies established by a law of the
House of Assembly of the state.
Inspite of all these
provisions and safeguards, there is always an increased rate of fraud
and misappropriation of public funds and parties by those entrusted with
their safeguards. In view of the foregoing, this study is aimed at
appraising the functions of the Enugu state audit department, problem
affecting its efficiencies performance, and suggested solutions to
enhance its effectiveness.
The researcher aims to examine
the major cause of fraud or misappropriation of public funds in the
state public service and offer useful suggestions to arrest the ugly
situation. This study will also be of immense important for it will
appraise the performance of the Enugu state audit department and assess
the extent it has been able to achieve its objectives. The researcher
will in addition offer valuable solutions on how to achieve
accountability in the state public service.
The origin of audit department
is as old as Nigeria. The present Enugu state audit department had its
root from the colonial administrations. During colonial administration,
there was one audit in the federation known as the colonial audit. The
colonial masters have their representatives in Nigeria. These
representatives were responsible and report to the Queen of England. The
country was divided into four Regions as follows: Northern Region,
Southern Region, Eastern Region and Western Region. Each of the regions
had its own audit department but reports under the control of the
colonial administration. This gives rise to regional audits.
Section 61 (1) of the Eastern
Nigeria 1958, constitution states, and “There shall be a director of
audit for the region whose office shall be an office in the public
services of the region. In 1976 there was a further creation of states
in the country and it was then that Anambra state and Imo states was
created from the former Eastern central state. In 1992, the old Anambra
state was further divided into Anambra state and the present Enugu
state. Following this, each state now has her own audit department with a
director of Audit or Auditor general of the state. The state was
empowered by section 25 (2) of the 1999 constitution of the Federal
Republic of Nigeria and section 4 (2) of chapter 13 of the audit law to
have its audit department. The internal audit department in the ministry
of Finance and economic development is being leaded by the state
1.1 STATEMENT OF PROBLEMS
There has been an entry of
poor accountability in the public service particularly Enugu state civil
service of Nigeria. There has been various radio and television news
and the report from the daily newspapers about fraud, embezzlement of
public fund and misappropriation of public properties. Enugu state
government is loaded with a lot of financial burden and as such has
decided to discontinue the increasing rate of fraud and misappropriation
of public properties in the state.
The problems audit affects
both the management and units, the shareholders, board of directors,
researchers businessman/ sole proprietors, investors and the general
public. From the viewpoint of misconceptions, superstitions, and
prejudices of auditing and its function, the problem includes the
(1) Inadequate auditing lead to misappropriations, embezzlements and insincere in public service.
(2) There is existence of inadequate and irregular payment of staff salaries and remunerations in the state.
(3) There is general lack of information from the officer in the state ministries.
(4) Lack of management skills hinders proper auditing practices in the state.
(5) Improper appointment and poor
delegation of authority has contributed immensely to the mismanagement
and poor performance appraisal in the state.
1.2 PURPOSE OF THE STUDY
The major aim of this research work is to evaluate and identify:
i. The performance and
achievements of external and internal audit departments in protection of
public funds and properties.
ii. The extent of compliance with the financial regulations on how to operate public funds.
iii. The effectiveness and implementations of an auditor’s report.
iv. To ascertain how poor and
irregular payment of staff salaries and remunerations affects auditing
practice in the state ministry.
v. To ensure that valuable and adequate information is provided to the auditors for proper auditing.
1.3 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
The scope of
the research study is centered on the usefulness of auditing in public
sector titled, “Auditing as an aid to accountability with a particular
reference to the ministry of Finance and Economic Development, Enugu
1.4 RESEARCH HYPOTHESES FORMULATED
In order to
achieve a reasonable conclusion in the study, it is very essential to
formulate a set of testable hypotheses on available data as to ensure a
true and fairness of the study as follows:
(i) Ho: Auditing is a tool for accountability in the public service especially Enugu state ministry.
H1: Auditing is not a tool for accountability in the public service especially Enugu state ministry.
(ii) Ho: Improper auditing has lead to misappropriation, embezzlement, and defalcation of fund.
H1: Improper auditing has not lead to misappropriation, embezzlement, and defalcation of fund.
(iii) Ho: Poor and irregular payment of staff salaries and remuneration have caused diversion of public fund to private purposes.
H1: Poor and
irregular payment of staff salaries and remuneration have nor caused
diversion of public fund to private purposes.
(iv) Ho: Management skill has improved operational standard of audit in public service.
H1: Management skill has not improved operational standard in public service.
1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The growing nature of Nigerian society
and the complexity of government operations have today give birth to
frequent less of public fund. This losses compelled government to set up
a good number of tribunals and special investigation panels (SIP) to
carry out findings on the causes of such less of public fund. The
important of this research will be of a great aid to find permanent
solutions to the problem in audit practices and programmes.
The solutions will increase the
effectiveness and efficiency of audit in the public sector. This
research work will in addition highlight the functions and roles of
auditing in our society and particularly to the auditor’s in the
More so, the concept of compliance and
efficiency were properly examined to guide the auditors during audit
investigations and practices. The auditors were exposed to legal
constitutional rights, which empowered them to form auditor’s opinions
without fear of favour in their areas of operations. The research study
will in-addition appraise the usefulness of establishing internal audit
department in various ministries and parastatals. It will also enable
the directing boards and various heads of establishments make provision
for adequate and regular payments of staff salaries and remunerations.
The management of both public and private sectors were equipped with the
usefulness need to establishing adequate internal checks that will
certify the efficiency and effectiveness of their internal control
system so as to ensure auditing as an aid to accountability.