INTERNAL CONTROL SYSTEM AS A MEANS OF PREVENTING FRAUD IN NIGERIA FINANCIAL INSTITUTION (A CASE STUDY OF FIRST BANK OF NIGERIA PLC ONITSHA)

1.0     INRODUCTION

          BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY

                It is feared that the inability of management to ensure effective enforcement to rules and regulation have rendered that operation of internal control system s the Banking industry open to abuse. The net effect could be that every one carries out his schedule off duties in any manner he likes which consequently gives those wishing to commit  fraud their long expected golden opportunity.

          Prior to 1952, there was no form of Banking art or ordinance to regulate the establishment and operations of Commercial Banks or a Central Banks to supervise the control of Banking Nigerian. During that time many Banks was registered some of which never operated and even since that  period, fraud has remained a permanent feature in out Banking industry. This resulted in the loss of faith and trust in the financial institutions by Nigeria and consequently, under-development of the banking habit in the country.

          However with the introduction of the first  banking ordinance in 1952, and the central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Act in 1959 and other subsequent Acts and ordinances with their amendments over the years, used to regulate and control the activities and operations of financial institutions in the country, fraud in financial institution have rather increased in magnitude and the methods used to perpetrate them acquire greater sophistication day after day. Now with the introduction of modern procedures and advancement in information technology such as those in communication system, automatic electric gadgets and computer into the banking system coupled with the various precautionary measures taken by bank agent, fraud have rather taken nuclear  dimensions and the size of sums involved increased at a geometric rate and also with the held of Anipkitan (1976) a banker of repute, I Ashimi (1976, p6) a banker of prudent, Ughamadu N. (1991) observed to be liable in its banking sector and be very porous to fraud and many others who have contributed to maintain a prudently measured to the ascertainment of financial banking assets and liabilities.

          Consequently, the confirmed existence of financial institutions rests delicately on the maintains of public  confidence. This calls for the establishment of an effective system of internal control which among other  things will help to ensure that the laid down procedures standard and statuary requirement.

          To establish a sound internal control system various organization adopt scope of their operations. Internal control system requires a continues check and rechecking of day-to-day  activities of the business in order to ensure the correctness and firmness of the accounting records, and to detect and expose any deviation when it has accord. Most financial institutions loose confidence of the people not only through fraudulent use of funds but also through some detect infraudulent practices and or syndication of some dishonest staff facilitated by defects in the Bank internal control system. There is therefore a great need to climate or minimize the defects loopholes and make money effective and operational to quard against the occurrence and re-occurrence of fraud in our financial institutions.

 

AN OVERVIEW OF FIRST BANK PLC

          First Bank of Nigeria Plc was incorporated on 31st March 1894 as a limited liability company with an authorized share capital of  2 stilling, but  today it has been  registered at the companies house for I,II years. The establishment of First Bank of Nigeria Plc predates the birth the Nigeria nation as a sovereign entity. The Bank which was registered as Bank of British WEST African  in 1894, has therefore evolved along the path of political, social and economic chaps  and development of Nigeria. It thus shared in the process of its growth, the final experiences of the nation which in retrospect  were sources of strength.

          First Bank of Nigeria Plc is egad in Commercial Banking Business. It’s head office is located in Lagos. It is the policy of the board of Directors that the bank should play an important role in the Commercial  Banking industries in Nigeria Accordingly the Bank is committed to the expansion of it’s branches net word with a view of eventually making it’s services available through the country.

          New the bank has branches all over the country and overseas, large they embarked on the increase in publicity, it therefore well equips and computerized in order to enhance the delivery of its services and as well took internal control system to check the level of fraud attitude against customers an members of the coy. The bank is committed to successful restricting and development of the nations economy as it’s rural objective. Towards this end, the bank is interested in assisting small scale industries, farmers, cooperatives societies and community development efforts.

          The service include savings account current account, standing orders and direct debit current services, fixed deposits, loans and advances, corporate finance international operations, these services are being carried out by efficient human resource of the bank which made up to both senior and junior cadres.    

 

1.1     PURPOSE OF THE STUDY

                This research work concentrates essentially on the financial institutions with special a view to providing suitable recommendations and suggestions that will help in their prevention and minimization of fraud. It is therefore the main objective of this study to examine the internal control system  in the operation of this bank in Nigeria and evaluate the appropriateness and the effectiveness of the system as a toll for fraud prevention.  

          The study also has its objectives as follows;

  1. To ascertain the degree of compliance of the banks staff with the internal control measures.
  2. To identify  possible defect, or loop holes (if any) in the system.
  3. To examine the relevance and appropriative of the presently adopted control measures in preventing frauds.
  4. To offer useful recommendation based on the finding on how best to prevent the occurrences of fraud through an effective internal control system.

 

1.2     SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY

                Even through this study is not a very comprehensive and exhaustive one as a result of some limitations of all aspects of the work is very relevant in one way or the other to the Nigerian Banking Industries as a whole, primarily, this study is designed for all those may be interested in carrying out further study on internal control system as it related to fraud prevention in financial institutions in Nigeria.

          Moreover, banks in Nigeria will deprive great assistance from this research work in detecting fraud in bank system and subsequently  preventing and minimizing fraud.

          This can be achieved by adopting and implementing the various suggestions and recommendation made this study in their control systems.

          Finally, there is no need over emphasizing the fact that if banks are able to reduce the incidence of fraud in their operation to the least level. That will be able to operate on a more profitable ground. Again, the bank customers detecting confidence on the banking industries will once more be restored and thereby help in building up good banking habit in Nigeria. 

 

1.3     SCOPE OF THE STUDY

            This research work is carried out to examined fraud prevention and control, a management effort to avoid dishonesty and fast play in financial institutions.
            The work is focused on Nigerian banking sector with particular reference to first bank of Nigeria Plc Onitsha, due to certain obvious factors like easy accessorily of research material, financial and time constraints and non-disclosure of certain information from the management due to bank’s secrecy.  

 

1.4     LIMITATION OF THE  STUDY

                Here the  limitation composed on this study is that of shortage of time and financial constraints. The time limit set for the submission of these project work was short and this made to be carried out. This problem of time and finance account for the limitation of the  sample size to only the first bank of Nigeria Plc in Onitsha.

 

1.5     DEFINITION OF TERMS

                The following terms or concepts need to be clarified other terms will be defined of course of the study.

 

A. FRAUD: There is no commonly accepted  definition of the term fraud. Experts and academicals alike have defined if in various ways; The oxford advanced  learners dictionary defined fraud as “act of deceiving somebody illegally in order to make money or obtain goods”. In other way, I can say “It is an act of criminal deception, out of deceptive trick cheating , swingding person on things that deceives.

 

B. INTERNAL CONTROL SYSTEM: The whole system of control both financial and other wide established by management in order to carry on the business of the enterprise in an orderly and efficient manner to ensuring adherence to management policies, safeguard then assets and secure as for as possible, the completeness and accuracy of the records.

 

C. PREVENTION: The system of stopping the bad attitude of fraud from happening.

 

D. FINANCIAL INSTITUTION: This refer to organizations, societies, buildings established for the purpose of taking cane of monetary affairs, bonds,  securities etc, in a given economic, it embraces banks, insurance companies, stock exchange etc.

 

E. PLC PUBLIC LIMITTED COMPANY: This is in line with the provisions stipulated order Sec 29 (2) of the company and allied matters decree (CAMD) 1990 which look effect from 2nd May 1990 for the purpose of banking issues.

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