Under local traveling and transport, every bursar and principal are required as a matter of policy to pay all staff on fresh appointment from Abuja their 28 days in lieu of Hotel accommodation, one night allowance for reporting to duty otherwise called DTA, their kilometer allowance or transport cost of moving their families and property to the new station. The same thing applies to other officers who are transferred to another station. But you find out from these collages that a good number of these officers who came on posting either new appointment or transfer have not received any kobo in form of their financial entitlements. And some of them does not apply for the payment because of ignorance.
Utility services otherwise called sub-heading (3) aimed at helping the vote controller (principal and bursar) to cover payment for water supply to students where the taps are no functional. In addition all the funds allocated under utility services, telephone services, stationary, maintenance of office, furniture and equipment, maintenance of motor vehicle and capital assets, maintenance of public relations, grants and subvention and miscellaneous expenses are as good as money given to the principal and bursar to maintain themselves.
This is because no single staff would know when the payment vouchers are raised, let alone partaking in it. The painful aspect of the issue at stake was that of one million, four hundred and seventy-two thousand, two hundred and twenty-two naira twenty-two kobo only (N1,472,222.22) allocated to each unity school and one thousand three hundred and eighty-eight naira, eighty kobo (N1,701,388.88) in year 2000 fiscal year ended up not paying all the staff claims and other financial entitlements.
When reason for no-payment of staff claims from the overhead cost was demanded from the bursar (public accountant) of the federal government college, Enugu, he said that their allocation was not enough to go round. This is unbelievable.
Federal government subsidies all the unity schools students feeding. Yet students are poorly taken care of in spite of the PTA contributions to their feeding. Each school receives on each month a sum of one million, two hundred and fifty thousand naira (N1,250,000.00) only. But you find out that in spite of this allocation, the principal and Bursar (public accountant) tampers with the school fees/government revenue though the use of domestic account. When auditors comes around, they are sorted out, hence no body reports the matter to appropriate authorities. Recently, the students went on rampage because of poor quality of food given to them at federal Government Girls College Owerri. When the principal was contracted she said that it was a set up rather than owing up their misappropriation of the funds meant for students feeding and lack of payment to the contractors that supply those food.
Nominal roll as it is called in the civil service shows either the numerical strength of staff of those of students in a college or any other institution. Bursars in consent with their principals end up increasing the numerical strength of their staff and students with a view to receiving a higher supplementary allocation towards the end of the year for personal use. They submit this list to the Director of Finance and Accounts Federal Ministry of Education for record’s and onward delivery to the accountant general of the federation, federal ministry of finance for cash supply. These bursars in consent with their principal collaborate with the dishonest staff in the director of finance and accounts to perpetuate this act and share the “boty” in the end.
For security reasons, names will not be mentioned here, but a through research have shown that the public accounts (Bursars) in collaboration with their principals do not utilize all the allocations given to them in the interest of the public service. It was discovered that some schools have numerical staff strength of 200 personnel but submitted 2000 to director finance and accounts federal ministry of education for records and delivery to the accountants general of the federation for allocation and cash supply. And allocation was eventually made to them and the excess shared among those that have the knowledge.
Towards the end each financial year bursars and their principals made request for supplementary allocation to enable them cover payment of staff on transfer, promotions, eave grant, annual increment and other related indebtedness to the staff. On the above understanding, the ministry give then extra allocation which instead of off-setting these financial obligations under sub-head one they end up making deals out of it. Once the “big man” above is involved, auditors and inspectors contacted, the staff go to hell if this fund are diverted.
The actual monthly returns of expenditure which various stations accounts had are no longer obtainable in this system. This is because those planted at the headquarters by the bursars and principal tend to help them destroy any record that can be dangerous to their sharp practices by receiving bribe and covering up those lapses. Hence, the matter dies unnatural death.
In principal, it said that everyone of us that is entrusted with the management of public funds owe the public the responsibility of ensuring that these funds are seen to be used for the purpose for which it was intended. This is the vital aspect of public accountability and probity is the proper rendition of stewardship by public officials handling of public funds. But the foregoing research have proved the hypothesis which says that public accountants in collaboration with their principals do not utilize all the allocation made available to them right and acceptable.
FINDINGS, CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE STUDY
Attempt was made in this research work to X-ray the impact of the public accountants, using the unity school bursars as a sample or example in the implementation of accountability, probity and transparency in the federal civil service: A case study of the federal ministry of education.
In the process, the role of accountants generally was enumerated, research questions on the impact of the public accountants in the implementation of accountability, probity and transparency in the federal ministries of education and finance in the federal civil service was administered to various categories of staff in the federation secretariat complex, Shehu Shagari Way, Abuja and a hypothetical question was also used. All these were aimed at finding out whether the public accountants, especially the bursars in the unity school in collaboration with their principals have actually lived up to their responsibilities. Again, related literature review carried out on the basis of textbook information, extracts from the official journal of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria, Federal Treasury Circular issued in year 2000, newspapers, and magazines helped matters. This is because a lot of information/data gathered agreed to a large extent with the on-the-spot assessments questionnaires, interviews, telephone calls and observations made with personalities of interest in the public service. And their opinion synchronise with the hypothesis Hi and proven it right.
Analysis of the approved budget of the 1999 fiscal year 2000 respectively of the Federal Ministry of Education was made, comparism also made. It was discovered that provisions were made on unidentified increments especially for the unity schools and this led to misappropriation of public funds. Teachers are cheated because their bills and other financial entitlements are hardly settled. And most of the teachers are ignorant of their rights and obligations in the civil service, and this made to be on the receiving end.
It was also discovered that the budget preparation of the unity schools in deliberated heavy expenditure programme through the unity schools and little of no nerve returns are made to the federal government unlike the private sector. These heavy amount allocated to unity schools found their way back to he “big boys” above through foul means. And since the advent of the democratic dispensation the drama we have witnessed so far in relation to budgets have been unending debates and settlements along the line. So far no Law was enacted to take care of these lapses. The anti-corruption and related offences law of year200 was ineffective because the legislators themselves are caught in the web of corrupt practices. The question an inquisitive mind may wish to ask is: what is the way forward since the implementation of accountability, probity and transparency have failed?
It can be concluded that corruption in the public service has eaten deep into the fabric of our society at every level. And its eradication is not in sight because a good number of people of substance are in key positions in the public service are involved. They use their office for pecuniary advantage, use junior officers (such as unity school bursars) to make money,take gratification for admission of children into unity schools influence peddling of results and less than a full day’s work for a full day’s (i.e. constantly in a meeting without attending to the parents who are looking for him). They live above their income and make things happen.
The impact of the public accountants in the implementation of accountability, probity and transparency in the Federal Civil Service have not been felt because of high level of corruption that exist in the system.
It is believed with improved information education and awareness corruption will be reduced if not totally eradicated.
The Nigerian value system must be changed so as to stamp out dishonesty and use of double standard in handling government matters.
The Institute of Chartered Accountant of Nigeria and other related accounting training bodies should live to their responsibilities towards ensuring that their members maintain the ethics of the profession and code of conduct in their practice.
Regular workshops, seminars and trainings should be organized on regular basis for those public accountants (Bursars) who rose through the ranks. This will make them fit into the accounting duties proper.
The use of quota system in the federal civil service employed should stop. This is the breeding ground for bringing into the service incompetent officers and poor achievers. The outcome is poor quality job, carpentry accounts and collaboration with principals to embezzle government finds.
Proper budgeting system and control should be put in place by the Federal government. It is only when the budget is being executed and accounting data captured that we have budgetary control process at work. This will make our end result be as close as possible to what has been planned or possible to what has been planned or intended. This budgetary control therefore, encompasses the functions of funds control, expenditure control, revenue control (including monitoring) and cash control. The situation where bursars tamper with government revenues (school fees) on the flimsy excuse that excuses that they run short of their students maintenance running cost and to fall-stall students riot should stop. Maintenance of domestic account in unity school should not be acceptable because it is one of the ways the Federal Government are degraded.
Our annual budget must be problem definition and programme objections, performance criteria and way forward.
All the monies voted in a fiscal year for every school be written should be effectively utilized instead of the situation where such monies are written into private pockets.
The use of computer should be encouraged in the unity schools payroll in one hand and that of the Federal Ministry of Education in general. This will give room for effective check on vote accounting system and efficient service to the workers.
Computerization will also stop all leakage of public funds, encourage speed and accuracy of transcripts, final accounts and other government financial business reports.
Auditor (internal and external) should exercise a lot of restraint in the course of their duties especially by reporting what they have seen on the records rather talking bribe and preventing justice.
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Owerri: Spectrum Books Limited.
Akpan, S.U. (2001). FinancialManagementinGovernment.
Lagos: Longman Publishers.
Budget Office (2000). Year 2000 Budget Estimate on Recurrent and Capital
Expenditure. Abuja: Federal Ministry of Finance.
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Federal Inland Revenue (1993). Information Circular on VAT. Abuja:
Federal Inland Revenue Service.
Federal Republic of Nigeria (1999). The Constitution of the Federal
Republic of Nigeria. Lagos: Times Press Ltd.
Olusegun, O. (2000). The Formal Signing into Law of the Corrupt
Practices and other Related Offences Act 2000. Lagos: Time Press Ltd.
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The Nigerian Accountant Vol. 33, No. 4.
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Seminar paper presented at annual conference and seminar of the public
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Development”. Seminar paper presented to the Senior Executive
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Seminar paper presented at year 2000 Cross River State Branch of
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Johnson, I.E. (2000). “Nature of Public Sector Accounting”. Seminar paper
presented at Lagos Branch of ICAN End of year Business Dinner,
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Department of Accounting
Caritas University Amorji
Enugu State, Nigeria.
TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN
I am a final year student of the above department and university. As part of the requirements for the award of B.Sc degree in Accounting. I am conducting a research on the topic ‘’The Impact of Public Accountant in the Implementation of Accountability, Probity and Transparency in the Federal Civil Services.
It is my intention in this study to ascertain the effective use of public accounts, and how Public accounting and auditing can grow and develop.Consequently; your co-operation will be needed in its entirety by tilling the questionnaire attached herein. The information supplied herein will be used purely for academic purposes and will be treated strictly confidential.
Thanks for your contribution to the success of this study.
QUESTIONNAIRE/RESEARCH QUESTION ON:
THE IMPACT OF PUBLIC ACCOUNTANTS IN THE IMPLEMENTATION OF ACCOUNTABILITY, PROBITY IN THE TRANSPARENCY IN THE FEDERAL CIVIL SERVICE.
To all staff of the Federal Ministries of Education and Finance within and outside Federal secretariat complex, Shehu Shagari Way, Abuja.
Note: Please your answers will be treated with utmost good faith as this research work is only meant for academic exercise. It is not intended to expose the lapses of the management nor the weakness of the ministries nor their staff in general.
Tick  or No [X] as may be appropriate in your opinion.
Do you accountants actually influence the economic achievement of their ministries?
Yes [ ] No [ ]
If yes, what was the average performance last financial year?: Above average
Yes [ ] No [ ]
Is the performance of the accountant based on the public sector accounting (government) or both public and private sector?
Public sector accounting which I am aware [ ]
Private sector accounting which I am not aware of
Do public accountants show interest in the profession that they are practicing and in the overall public interest?
Yes [ ] No [ ]
Does the authority reward a hard working accountant for performance of the duties diligently?
Yes [ ] No [
Is the public accountants and workers relationship free and cordial?
Yes [ ] No [ ]
What do you do with poor achievers in your ministry or department?
Give them extra training [ ] talk them down [ ]
What do you do with a public accountant who is doing well consistently in your department or ministry?
See his effort as a matter of course [ ]
What do you do when an accountant fails to comply with the laid down financial regulations or do his home assignment?
Ignore him [ ] Discipline him [ ]
Do you generate exiting method of teaching your subordinate?