Experts Highlight Dangers of Conflictsc


Obinna Chima

The Chairman of Ecobank Nigeria Plc, Mr. John Aboh has advised individuals and operators in business to always avoid conflict of interest in their organisations

Aboh, who made this call in a keynote address he delivered at the 2017 Audit Committee Conference, organised by the Audit Committee Institute in Lagos recently, pointed out that conflict of interest wages cost on government, businesses and society.

However, he noted that because such cost is latent and indeterminate, even researchers have not been able to objectively quantify it.

“We only know that businesses have been collapsed by the weighty cost of conflicts of interest.
“As investors and gatekeepers, it behoves us to constantly think of how to prevent, detect, monitor, control and abate conflicts of interest.

“Among managers, conflict of interest is not considered a serious problem because it is naturally low in organisational visibility with consequences that are managed by perpetrators so that it does not vibrate to get the attention of control elements,” he added.

According to the former bank CEO, the evils of related party conflict of interest transactions manifest in the purchase of substandard materials during projects, because the insider used his internal connections to get system to condone and accept substandard materials.

He, therefore stressed that given the potential consequence of conflict of interest and the risk it poses to governance, assets, business continuity and the risk to the economy, “our generation must now give it its deserved intellectual attention to properly characterise it and come out with solutions that captures all its contours.”

We have a responsibility to pass on to posterity an orderly rule-based society with a threshold of trust, he said.
Earlier, in his welcome address, the Chairman, Audit Committee Institute, Mr. Chiristian Ekeigwe, noted that conflict of interest had been an under-estimated problem that is denied in most societies because it naturally combines with related parties or parties with deep familiarity.

“Conflict of interest is the most dangerous low-visibility governance vulnerability because it is primarily predatory and implacable.

“To be sure, conflict of interest is a threat to our civilisation because it corrodes its primal foundation, namely cooperation and trust; truly speaking, these are the primal substrates of modern civilisation.

“We need to intellectually metabolise conflict of interest risk and mentally adjust our thinking to the significance that it represents,” he added.