By Gift Samuel, The Sight News
The Association of Forensic and Investigative Auditors (AFIA) has raised alarm over what it described as increasing rate of fraud and corruption in public sectors in Nigeria and the African continent at large.
The association noted that with fraud costing entities an estimated 60 percent of their annual revenues, organizations lacking proactive fraud preventive measures were the most vulnerable.
President of the association, Mrs Victoria Ayishetu Enape made the disclosure during a training and induction of new members, titled “Transition to Forensic and Investigative Audit”
Enape said that while the regulatory measures and internal controls in reporting requirements help to lessen the possibilities for falsified activities to take place, history has shown that indigenous employees could manipulate even the best control systems for personal gain.
She explained that forensic and investigative auditors were trained with advanced auditing knowledge which enables them to see and detect what Statutory Auditors cannot see.
The president called on Nigerian government to patronise Nigerian forensic auditors to grow Nigeria by ensuring the speedy passage of the Chartered Institute of Forensic and Investigative Auditors in Nigeria Bill, which is currently at the Senate.
“Our work is to prevent, detect and put in place some measures to stop the wrong from taking place in future, through the use of science and technology.
“This implies that after training of members they will be equipped with advanced audit skills that enables them find out who, what, where, why, when and how the wrong took place.
“More importantly they will put together and implement the right systems and meaningful controls to prevent internal and external fraud from happening again,” she said.
The AFIA boss said that forensic Auditors looked beyond figures in financial statement as they focus on investigating the inadequacies and shortcomings in the existing financial system and tackling them.
“In the past 10 years, the number of reported cases of fraud and corruption has continued to grow radically across regions.
“Compounding these are the challenges faced by the audit team and a general lack of the necessary skills set to collect right audit evidence so critical to criminal investigations.
“Recent happening in most parts of the world show growing greed of human being and art of camouflaging of accounting facts and figures through deception by indulging in fraud and manipulation, depending upon the position that one holds.
“Government has lost a lot of money in the past few years to fraud which has emptied some country treasury’s like that of Nigeria, and this is due to the inability and inadequacies of traditional auditing process and reporting.
“Alarming increase of financial fraud, inability of internal audit to prevent and sniff out the financial fraud has given rise to new profession known as forensic and investigative audit,” she said.
Enape said that if Nigerian government desires to eradicate corruption and prevent fraud, then it must join hands with the association to make sure that the Forensic and Investigative Audit Bill is passed.
She said that the money that would be saved by blocking corruption leakages would be enough to take the country out of under-development, employ youths, build hospitals and roads for the people.
She said that to crown it all, it would also save Nigerian government the cost of inviting foreign Forensic Auditors to undergo forensic audit anytime they cannot account for huge sums of money.
“It is worth of note that AFIA is the last hope for our country Nigeria, because traditional audit has failed us and already expired long ago.
“This is the reason why in 2014, 20 billion dollars could miss in NNPC without any detection without any prescience of internal and External Auditors.
“AFIA is capable of transforming traditional or statutory Auditors through training and certification to enable them get the necessary skills that can help them to detect and prevent fraud.
“This will in turn assist in restoring sanity in Nigeria Financial Management system and bring back our economy to its original condition,” she said.
AFIA is the World’s leading anti-fraud organisation and the premier provider of forensic and investigative training audit training in Nigeria.
The proposed Chartered Institute of Forensic and Investigative Auditors in Nigeria Bill has scaled through first reading at the Senate. The bill aims to facilitate the transition from the traditional audit to forensic and Investigative audit.
Forensic and Investigative audit is a system that ensures objectivity and transparency in advanced audit. It will also engender investors trust and public confidence in the country’s accounting and financial reporting systems.
With the use of preventive forensic mechanisms, the occurrence of fraud and loss of public assets will be largely reduced.
The Association is for accountants, auditors, lawyers, police and other security agencies, stock brokers, tax professionals, economists, judicial officers and court registrars, criminologists, computer specialists and bankers.