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1.1 Background to the Study

There is no question about the existence of fraudulent practices in developing countries public sector which Nigeria is a part of. Fraudulent practice reflects a democracy, human rights and governance deficit that negatively impact on public sector development. It endangers the stability of democratic institutions, discriminates the delivery of governance services and thus results in lack of confidence by the people. UNDP (2005) points that fraudulent practice pose a major obstacle to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Thus, one of such crucial issue is to decide on the institutional arrangements for combating fraudulent practices i.e., the choice regarding the kind of framework that need to be established in order to ensure a successful fight against fraudulent practices in the public sector – ‘the due process mechanism’. Due process implies that governmental activities and businesses should be carried out openly, economically and transparently without favoritism and corruptible tendencies (Ezekwesili, 2005). Sabo (2003) opine that public demands and expectations at the grassroots for the provision of essential social and basic services using government resources have continued to be astronomically high, manifested by rising pressure on the resources with which to satisfy these. He further reiterated that the strength of any government depends on the success of its development programmes, which largely depend on an effective implementation of its policies. Thus, the government exists to serve the interest of the citizens.

Over the years, fraudulent practices in the public sector is on the increase largely due to weaknesses associated with the internal control system and other criminal temptations, which to say the least, taps the nation’s resources with its far-reaching and attendant consequences on socio-economic development. Cases of fraudulent practices in the public sector are so pronounced that everyone in every segment of the public service could seem to be involved in one way or the other in some of these nasty acts (Ekpo, 2004). This assertion is not difficult to appreciate if we accept and adopt the simple definition of fraud as “any deliberate false act aimed at deceiving or harming any party, individual or corporate body, in any manner”. Halidu (1991) observe that the bane of financial administration in Nigeria since the oil boom years a period under which the foregoing observation becomes relevant, has been the existences of structurally weak control mechanism, which create a variety of loopholes that have tended to facilitate and sustain fraudulent practices. This is coupled, of course, with the fact that there is a near total absence of due process in the conduct of public affairs.

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