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FORENSIC AUDIT AND FRAUD PREVENTION IN NIGERIAN PUBLIC SECTOR DEBEKEME BOYELAYEFA DEPARTMENT OF ACCOUNTING, FACULTY OF MANAGEMENT SCIENCES, UNIVERSITY OF PORT-HARCOURT
Fraud is a global threat to public institutions and economies of the world. Preventive efforts in previous studies proved illusive as occurrences are on an escalating magnitude. In response to the above, this study is to investigate the relationship between forensic audit and fraud prevention in Nigerian public sector. The field survey research design was adopted for this study. The operant conditioning theory lent credence to the study. Three research questions and hypotheses were formulated. The study population was limited to an accessible population of Nine (9) Federal Ministries, Departments and Agencies in Rivers State. Secondary data were collected for this study and analyze with Augmented Dickey-Fuller (ADF) stationarity unit root test. The statistical tool, Multiple Regression Analysis with the aid of econometrics view version 10 was used to test the stated hypotheses. The results analyzed revealed that forensic audit report (FAR) is positively and significantly related to fraud prevention with positive coefficient β = 0.152520, t-statistic = 0.243268 and p-value=0.0159 less than (<) 0.05), thus rejected the null hypothesis. This implies that forensic audit report is a panacea in fraud prevention in Nigeria public sector. Our analysis of the results further reported that litigation support services (LSS) also relates to fraud prevention positively and significantly with positive coefficient β = 0.0404997, t-statistic = 0.337676 and p-value = 0.0471 less than (<) 0.05, thus rejected the null hypothesis. This implies that litigation support services (LSS) is highly effective in fraud prevention in Nigerian public sector. The findings also indicated that investigative accounting (IA) has a positive and significant relationship with fraud prevention, β = 0.321988, t-statistic = 0.327494 and p-value = less than (<) 0.05, thus rejected the null hypothesis. It was concluded that forensic audit is one of the most effective techniques in fraud prevention in Nigeria public sector. The Augmented Dickey-Fuller test indicated stationarity between the variables. The findings of this study suggested recommendations among others that forensic audit should be adopted as compulsory means in the fight against fraudulent practices in our public institutions. Further studies with different methodologies should be carried out on forensic audit and public expenditure in Nigeria.
Keywords: Forensic audit, fraud prevention, forensic audit report, litigation support services, investigative accounting, public sector