Civil service fraud: the elephant in the room

“An unattended leaking tap can cause a disastrous flooding.The effects of an unattended tap will be the same for a company or organisation that does not conduct the relevant fraud checks or stem fraudulent employees.” GFF 2020

According to the Collins English Dictionary 10th Edition fraud can be defined as: “deceit, trickery, sharp practice, or breach of confidence, perpetrated for profit or to gain some unfair or dishonest advantage”. In the broadest sense, a fraud is an intentional deception made for personal gain or to damage another individual; the related adjective is fraudulent.

Part 6, Chapter 38 of the Nigerian Criminal Code defines false pretence or fraud and this is criminalized in section 419, even though fraud is a crime it also involves abuse of civil liberties. Although fraudulent deception and all the other acts defined in Section 419A – Section 425 describes the various acts which can be termed as fraudulent the common thread in them is the intent to deprive people or entities of money or valuables, but there have also been fraudulent “discoveries”, e.g. in science, to gain prestige rather than immediate monetary gain.
The elephant in this case is the fraud that is being committed against the civil service by employees and non-employees of the civil service. The civil service must take immediate action to remove the burden from the public purse, and redirect the money to where it is needed most. Every penny wasted is a threat to jobs, all states and indeed the nation as a whole.
Yet the harsh reality is that the threat of fraud and error in the public sector is growing, due to a number of unique factors. History shows that recessionary periods see an increase in fraudulent activity – bothorganized and opportunistic, making fraudulent behaviour both more common and more difficult to detect. Administration errors also rise as staff struggle to cope with additional workloads and the understanding of daily duties is very limited and usually the role is developed without purpose and flow of how it fits into the objective of civil service.

So the pertinent questions that need to be answered are: how can we win the Battle against Public Sector Fraud AND ERROR? Can the State and Federal government give some clear recommendations that it believes would help to plug the huge losses? Does the state and Federal government have an idea of the losses suffered due to fraud and error? Is the Civil Service aware of existing infrastructure to help in reducing fraud and error?

The whole process of recruitment and assigning roles and responsibilities lacks the necessary checks and balance, with no accountability and periodic audits to reduce loopholes in the process. The elephant has become so fat that it has turned States and Federal offices into a cafeteria where food is supplied on a regular basis as long as the actors in the comedy are present; actors are still making profit even if we do not have any paying audience to watch the comedy. The elephant in the room provides all stakeholders with the necessary profits and the only loser is the State and Federal government. So what are some of the pointersto this elephant?

  1. The breach of recruitment process in not checking staff before they are offered employment.
  2. The Ghost workers claiming to be working in the civil service.
  3. The unlawful charges imposed on members of the public.
  4. The unethical process carried out by staff.
  5. Unlawfully providing confidential information to a third party.
  6. The breach of procurement and other processes.
  7. The lack of audit trail of activities.
  8. Lack of effective fraud reporting mediums.
  9. Over-invoicing of expenses on jobs and projects.

How do we intend to manage, monitor and identify the elephant in the room, there is a need to introduce a fraud authority or fraud management unit to INVESTIGATE, IMPOSE SANCTIONS, IDENTIFY and ERADICATE the Elephant where possible and also PREVENT and DETER the elephant from getting any bigger, by continually exposing the elephant while creating awareness to all members of the civil serviceand using Fraud management as a way of increasing profit for the State/Federal offices whileenhancing the reputation of the government officials and the State and Federal offices as a whole.
‘’Remember Fraud Robs Our future Generations’’
Feel free to contact us directly on +2348098027322 or for all your fraud audits and Fraud Background Checks Consulting