One of the fundamental problems of contemporary Nigeria is corruption. It has thrived; progressed and flourished unabated .Corruption has been institutionalized to the point of accepting it as part of our system. This study examined the incidence of corruption in the Nigerian Public Service with particular focus on Imo State Civil Service from 1999 to 2012. Specifically, the study investigated whether motivational incentives provided for civil servants contributes to their greater involvement in corruption in Imo State from 1999 to 2012. The study also examined the impact of weak internal control mechanism on the incidence of looting of state treasury by politicians in Imo State within the same period. We predicated our analysis on The General Systems Theory, adopting David Easton’s Political System theory. As for method of data collection, the study employed qualitative and quantitative method of data collection. As for sources of data, we principally relied on primary and secondary sources. The data so generated were analyzed accordingly using Likert measurement scale. The findings reveal that motivational incentives provided for civil servants contribute to their greater involvement in corruption. Based on the findings also, weak internal control mechanism was identified to have contributed to incidence of looting of state treasury by politicians in Imo State. We therefore recommend adequate motivation of civil servants through improved salary,prompt payment of all their entitlements and good working condition, government should strengthen internal control
mechanism to forestall incidence of looting of state treasury which could have been averted. These recommendations if properly implemented would be a panacea for eradication of corruption.
1.1 Background to the Study
One of the greatest problems of Nigerian public service is the prevailing incidence of corruption. Corruption therefore has become a persistent cancerous phenomenon which bedevils Nigeria public sector. Misappropriation, bribery, embezzlement, nepotism, and money laundering by public officials have permeated the fabric of the society. Any attempt to understand the tragedy of development and the challenges to democracy in most developing countries (Nigeria inclusive), must come to grips with the problem of corruption and stupendous wastage of scarce resources. This is not to suggest that corruption and prodigality are peculiar to the developing countries. Certainly, corruption is neither culture specific nor system bound. It is ubiquitous. However, the severity and its devastating impact vary from one system to the other. The impact is undoubtedly more severe and devastating in the developing world with weak economic base, fragile political institutions and inadequate control mechanisms. According to the Executive Director, Office of Drugs and Crime at the United Nations, Dr. Antonio Maria Costa, about US $400 billion was stolen from Nigeria and stashed away in foreign banks by past corrupt leaders before the return to democratic rule in 1999 (http://allafrica.com). Most people would argue that poverty definitely contributes to corruption. In many poor countries, the wages of public and private sector workers is not sufficient for them to survive (Otive, 2008).
It is ironic that Nigeria is the sixth largest exporter of oil and at the same time hosts the third largest number of poor people after China and India. Statistics show that the incidence of poverty, using the rate of US $1 per day, increased from 28.1% in 1980 to 46.3% in 1985 and declined to 42.7% in 1992 but increased again to 65.6% in 1996 (Obasanjo, 1995). The incidence increased to 69.2% in 1999 (CBN, 1999:95). If the rate of US $2 per day is used to measure the poverty level, the percentage of those living below poverty line will jump to 90.8%. It is against this background that sectoral distribution of the nationwide corruption survey in the Nigeria Corruption Index (NCI) 2007 identified the Nigerian Police as the most corrupt
organization in the country, closely followed by the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN). Corruption in the Education Ministry was found to have increased from 63 per cent in 2005 to 74 per cent in 2007, as against 96 per cent to 99 per cent for the Police in the corresponding period. The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), was the only new organization identified as corrupt among the 16 organizations on a list which included Joint Admission and Matriculation Board, the Presidency, and the Nigerian National Petroleum Commission (NNPC).While the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) and the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) have been identified as the least corrupt organizations with respect to bribe taking from the populace as at June 2007 (Abimbola, 2007).