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1.2 Statement of the problem

In recent years instances of weak internal audit functions in various organizations have increased (Cohen and Sayag, 2010; Arena and Azzone, 2009; Mihret and Yismaw, 2007). This situation throws light on the importance of having effective internal audit function specifically in the public sector. Public entities need to have effective internal audit function which will help them to have good governance, achievement of organization objectives and compliance with applicable laws (Horgan et al., 2012; Ijeoma and Nwufo, 2015; Salawu and Agbeja, 2007).
However, establishment of effective internal audit function has been a very challenging task in many public institutions. Several reasons have been explained by different researchers, for instance, in Tanzania, the studies by Mosha (2014), Ngopa (2013), Mgimba (2013) and Muro (2007) found that, existence of inadequate working facilities, weak audit committees, absence of management support, presence of few internal auditors in some public institutions, limited resources and cooperation among staff as major challenges hindering effectiveness of internal audit function in the public sector in Tanzania. Yet, some public institutions in Tanzania have got all the above necessities but their internal audit functions are still considered to be weak for example, the Ministry of Agriculture (Controller and Auditor General, 2015).
Internal auditing is a professional job which is overseen and supervised by Code of Ethics (IIA, 2010), it requires internal auditors to uphold the principles and rules stipulated in the global code of ethics for internal auditors (Seria, 2016). Internal auditors are supposed to possess high level of integrity, objectivity, confidentiality and competence in order to establish trust and thus provides the basis for reliance on their works (Russell, 2012). They need to apply their knowledge, skills, experience and make a balanced assessment of all the important situations and not unduly influenced by their own interests or by others in forming judgments (Pickett, 2010; Rittenberg, 2015).
However, very few researchers have explained about the role of code of ethics towards internal audit effectiveness. Hence, it is not clear how code of ethics for internal auditors influences the effectiveness of internal audit function in the public sector. Therefore, this research study has explored the influence of code of ethics on the effectiveness of internal audit function in the public sector and the ministry of agriculture in Tanzania was selected as the case study.
1.3 Research objectives
1.3.1 General objective
The general objective of the study was to assess the influence of code of ethics for internal auditors on the effectiveness of internal audit function in the public sector by taking the ministry of agriculture in Tanzania as a case of study.
1.3.2 Specific objectives
The specific objectives of the study were the following:
1. To examine the effect of integrity of internal auditors on the effectiveness of internal audit function in the Ministry of agriculture, Tanzania.
2. To determine the effect of objectivity of internal auditors on the effectiveness of internal audit function in the Ministry of agriculture, Tanzania.
3. To determine the effect of confidentiality of internal auditors on the effectiveness of internal audit function in the Ministry of agriculture, Tanzania.
4. To examine the effect of competence of internal auditors on the effectiveness of internal audit function in the Ministry of agriculture, Tanzania.
1.4 Research questions
The following were the study questions:
1. How does integrity of internal auditors affect the effectiveness of internal audit function in the Ministry of agriculture, Tanzania?
2. How does objectivity of internal auditors affect the effectiveness of internal audit function in the Ministry of agriculture, Tanzania?
3. How does confidentiality of internal auditors affect the effectiveness of internal audit function in the Ministry of agriculture, Tanzania?
4. How does competence of internal auditors affect the effectiveness of internal audit function in the Ministry of agriculture, Tanzania
1.5 Significance of the study
The study revealed sufficient information to the public on how integrity, objectivity, confidentiality and competence of internal auditors influence internal audit effectiveness. Hence, public institutions will benefit from the study findings to improve their internal audit functions.
Also, the study provided useful information which assist national and international professional bodies in reviewing and recommending best approaches of applying code of ethics for internal auditors in their public sectors.
Likewise, the study provided reference materials for students on internal audit courses and consequently contributes to their professional development.
Furthermore, the study is very important to academic researchers as the information provided will assist them in developing research papers focusing on the relationship between internal audit effectiveness and code of ethics for internal auditors. The findings of the study show that, there is a slightly linear relationship between the effectiveness of internal audit function and the elements of the code of ethics for internal auditors. Thus, this kind of findings will ultimately help academic researchers in the fields of auditing and accounting.