By Omolabake Fasgbon
As the country grapples with strategies to get out of the economic recession, the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners have advised that good governance which placed premium of transparency and development was the only way of the present quagmire.
They also commended the ratification of the of the Unified Code of Corporate Governance launched recently in an anti-fraud seminar organised for members of the Association in Lagos where they resolved to up the ante in ensuring transparency in governance.
According to them in a bullet point decisions reached at the forum, mismanagement of resource ,arising from bad governance was one of the factors that gave birth to economic problems in the country and insisted that the time was ripe for fraud prevention and detection measures to keep the economy stable.
Delivering a paper at the seminar on “Good Governance: A veritable Tool for Fighting Fraud During Economic Recession”, Deputy Director, Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria, Mr. Iheanyi Anyahara said the corporate governance code could be effective in fighting fraud.
“Considering the current global economic meltdown, especially the recession in Nigeria, both domestic and international investors are likely to shy away from countries that do not guarantee investor rights nor provide for adequate corporate disclosures or ensure sound practices.
“It is therefore pertinent that regulators should create more stringent regulatory procedures to detect internal and external fraud, create penalties for erring companies and curb such practices. Also regulators should have the capacity to investigate and probe into the annual reports of companies”, he pointed out.
Anyahara who lamented weak enforcement and regulatory mechanisms in the country noted that such were needed to be urgently dealt with to keep the incidence of fraud to the barest minimum.
He called also for the encouragement of whistle blowing in organisations which he said would go a long way in curbing fraudulent activities.
Continuing, he urged organisations and government to provide adequate protection for the whistle blowers, adding, “The fear of victimisation has kept many potential whistle blowers from speaking up against corporate malpractices. People tend to maintain the silent culture even when there is an obvious malpractice being perpetrated by the board or other prominent stakeholders. This is because no one wants to lose his/her job and fall back into the unemployment market nor wants to be harmed in the course of speaking out. There should be structures put in place for protection of whistle blowers”, he enthused
In his presentation, President of the association, Godwin Oyedokun, explained that the association was motivated by the state of the country in relation to its mission which was to reduce incidence of fraud and white collar crime as well as to assist its membership in fraud detection and deterrence.
He noted that there was a connection between good governance and recession whereas it is only effective governance that could save the country from recession.
“Effective governance begins from our home before it extends to the corporate world. We are in recession because what we have cannot sustain us which means we are not having enough .But then, we can still make do with what we have if good management was in place. Part of what constitute today’s problems are mismanagement, lack of focus and lack of planning and that is because there are no capable and competent people managing the resources of the country.
While calling for competent and strategic leadership in key positions, he urged the government to take the fight against corruption holistically and strengthen enforcement and regulations in the country.