Accounting Project Topics

Whistleblowing Mechanism and Internal Audit Effectiveness in Nigerian Public Sector

Whistleblowing Mechanism and Internal Audit Effectiveness in Nigerian Public Sector

Whistleblowing Mechanism and Internal Audit Effectiveness in Nigerian Public Sector


Objective of the study

The main objective of this study is to examine whistleblowing mechanism and internal audit effectiveness in Nigerian public sector. In view thereof, whistleblowing policy is the dependent variable and prevention of fraud is the independent variable. However, the specific objectives of this study are to:

  1. Test the level of implementation of whistle-blowing policy among the Nigerian Public sector.
  2. Determine the impact of whistle blowing policy in fraud prevention in the Nigerian Public sector.



The review of the past studies by researchers on the concept and theoretical framework of whistleblowing policy is carried in this section.

 Concept of Whistleblowing

The United State of America civic activist Ralph Nader is said to have coined the phrase, but he in fact put a positive spin on the term in the early 1970s to avoid the negative connotations found in other words such as “informer” and “snitch”. However, the origins of the word date back to the 19th century. The word is linked to the use of a whistle to alert the public or a crowd about a bad situation, such as the commission of a crime or the breaking of rules during a game. The phrase whistle blower attached itself to law enforcement officials in the 19th century because they used a whistle to alert the public or fellow police. Sports referees, who use a whistle to indicate an illegal or foul play, also were called whistle blowers. (Martin, 2017).

In the early 1990s, it claiming that men were more likely than women to blow the whistle on improper conduct Some analysts suggested the reason for this perception was that men seem to seek financial gain for whistleblowing (Martin, 2017).. During the early 2000s, however, a number of women became involved in high profile acts of whistleblowing for reasons other than fame and fortune. In 2001, Sherron Watkins, a vice president at Enron Corporation, informed the company’s board that Enron’s accounting practices were improper. Enron later suffered a major collapse largely as a result of its accounting practices that led to the Company’s Bankruptcy and to the indictment of the company’s auditor and chief financial officer. The following year, Cynthia Cooper, an auditor with WorldCom, told the company’s board that WorldCom had covered up major losses of $3.8 billion through false book keeping. Like Enron, the accounting failures led to WorldCom’s bankruptcy. During the same year, Coleen Rowley, an FBI staff attorney for more than 20 years, sent a letter to FBI Director robert mueller, indicating that the FBI’s national headquarters had mishandled an investigation of Zacarias Moussaoui, who was later believed to be a conspirator in the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks Rowley later spoke before the intelligence committees of the House of Representatives and the Senate about her accusations.

Time magazine dubbed 2002 the “Year of the Whistleblower,” and named Watkins, Cooper, and Rowley as its “Persons ofthe Year.” Their stories fueled the observation that women are more likely to become whistleblowers not for the potential for fame and financial gain, but out of a sense of duty. Although Watkins, Cooper, and Rowley were each subjected to rather harsh treatment by their respective employers following their disclosures, they became national celebrities by “speaking up when no one else would.” James (2002)

According to Micelli and Near (1992), Dandekar (1990), Goldberg (1987), James (1984); Whistleblowing is the disclosure by organization members (former or current) of illegal, immoral, or illegitimate practices under the control of their employers, to persons or organizations that may be able to effect action. In keeping with previous research, herein after terms such as wrongful activity and questionable practice refer to omissions as well as commissions, for example, when an organization fails to warn employees of workplace hazards”.




 Research design

Wright et al., (2016) described research design as “the overall strategy for conducting research that defines a concise and logical plan to address established research questions through the collection, interpretation, analysis, and discussion of data”. The study research design describes the type of research used, hypotheses, research problem, dependent and independent variable (Creswell, 2012). This study employed a descriptive survey research design method. The descriptive survey is used to systematically and accurately describe the characteristics of a study population (Diekmann, 2019). The descriptive research design was used because the study relied majorly on primary data collected from sampled respondents.

Population of the study

The population of the study is the total number of individuals from whom the study data was gathered in the study area (Adèr et al. 2018). In research, sampling is the systematic selection of respondents from a population. This study employed a simple random sampling method to select its sample.

The study adopts primary data using some of the primary data variables for further investigation. The primary data adopted the use of structured questionnaire and which were served to the Ministry of finance in Enugu State. Thus, 90 questionnaires were distributed on equal basis of 30. The distribution and retrieval is shown in Table 3. 1. The return rate of the questionnaires shows that Federal Government has 26.67% of total while State and Local Governments have 31.11% and 30% respectively of total questionnaire returned. This stratification enables the understanding of the type of responses obtained from the various organizations. Thus total response rate of the organizations to the questionnaire was 87.78%



The answers received from the respondents were presented in the tables below (page 13 and 16), and scores were used for analysis in such a way that makes it easier to the readers to comprehend:




The research analyzed why attention has to be given to the question of whistleblowing policy in fraud prevention among the three ties if government in the Nigerian, This study examines the level of implementation  of whistle blowing policy among the three tiers of government; whether whistle blowing aims to prevent fraud; organizations that do not have whistle blowing policy are vulnerable to fraud; and whether whistle blowing policy impact positively on fraud preventing and detection respectively. The empirical results provide some evidence to support the two primary hypotheses that there is significant difference in the level of implementation of whistle policy among the 3 tiers of government with more implementation at the federal government, and also there is significant relationship between whistle blowing policy and prevention of fraud in the ministry of finance mainly in the federal level of government.


Consequent upon several revelations from the research conducted, there is need to make some recommendations as follows;-

  1. Since implementation of whistleblowing policy among the three tiers of government has a significant difference with more implementation at the federal government,there is need for developing whistleblowing policy in the states and local governments, such policy be supported with training and guidance because they are vital in maintaining the effectiveness of the strategy for the detection and prevention of fraud.
  2. It has been established that the whistleblowing policy has a significant impact in fraud prevention at the federal level; it is therefore paramount to establish and implement the policy in both the states and local governments in Nigeria, the need for public awareness on the policy is also paramount.


  • Adegoke, Y. (2017). “Nigeria’s anti-corruption unit finds $43 million cash in Lagos apartment”. CNN. CNN. Retrieved 19 April 2021)
  • Adeyemi, O.O. (2012). Corruption and Local Government Administration in Nigeria: A Discourse of Core Issues. European Journal of Sustainable Development. 1(2): 183-198)
  • Akerlof, G. A.  The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Vol. 84, No. 3. (Aug., 1970), pp. 488-500.
  • Barnett, T., Cochran, D. S., and Taylor, G. S. (1993). The internal disclosure policies of private-sector employers: An initial look at their relationship to employee whistleblowing. Journal of Business Ethics, 12, 127-136.
  • De George, R. T. (2010). Business Ethics (7th ed., pp. 298–318). New York: Prentice Hall
  • Demming, J (2017). “Nigeria’s Whistleblowing Policy: A Good Start, But Not Enough”. Global Anticorruption Blog. Global Anticorruption Blog.
  • EFCC,(2021)( 24 April, 2021
  • Fasua H. K. & Osifo (2017) O.U.I  Journal of Business and Management Sciences, 2017, Vol. 5, No. 1, 18-26 University of Benin, Benin City, Edo State, Nigeria
  • Gillan, G., (2003). “Whistleblowing Initiatives – Are they merely Secrecy Games and/or Blowing in the Wind? Company Lawyer, 24 (2)
  • Gayasi, P. (2000), Internal control as a panacea of fraud prevention. International Journal of Business and Common Market Studies, 1, 50-55.