Forensic Audits Required to Eradicate Fraud, Corruption, Say Auditors

0

Ndubuisi Francis and Udora Orizu in Abuja
The Association of Forensic and Investigative Auditors in Nigeria (AFIA) has declared that fraud and corruption have destroyed the nation’s system and require a sophisticated mechanism to eradicate.

The association argued that if the nation must make progress in the quest to prevent and fight financial fraud, there was the need to develop and embrace an advanced audit system that engenders integrity, objectivity and trust in accounting and financial reporting process to inspire public confidence in the Nigerian financial ecosystem.

It said the adoption of forensic audit system could instill confidence, and help the country attract foreign investors who are afraid to invest in Nigeria due the fear of fraud.

AFIA President, Mrs. Enape Victoria Ayishetu, who spoke at an event to mark the association’s training and induction of new members in Abuja, said AFIA strives to promote the need for advanced transparency in audit through certification, training, conference and seminars in forensic accounting and auditing.

Ayishetu described forensic and investigative audit as a modernised way of improving and setting high technical standards for accounting and auditing professionals to prepare and mound them to prevent fraud.

She said: “Forensic and investigative auditors are mainly professional accountants with accounting background, lawyers, bankers, criminologists, economists, security agents and so on. Our discipline and training cut across forensic accounting, auditing, investigation mad litigation.

“Forensic auditing is an accounting specialty that integrates accounting, auditing and investigative skills with specialised forensic audit equipment and tools in order to support or resolve allegations of fraud and to put in place mechanism to prevent it and it encompasses both litigation support such as expert witness testimony, presentation of documents showing fraud,” she said.

Ayishetu, who noted that fraud and corruption have destroyed the system, said a sophisticated mechanism was required to eradicate the malaise.

“It is a statement of fact that as distasteful as it is to hear that our nation Nigeria is rated among countries with very poor prevention, detection, investigation and financial fraud and crimes records in the world, it is even more worrisome to know that despite federal government’s renewed efforts in tackling corruption and financial crimes, very little results has been achieved especially in the area of securing conviction against perpetrators of financial fraud in government organisations.

“This is because many of the cases, especially the high profile ones, are either thrown out for want of evidence or are unnecessarily delayed and stocked in court for years, due to one reason or the other. Therefore, if we as a nation must make progress in our collective prevention and fight against financial fraud, we must develop and increase the standard of an advanced audit system that engender integrity, objectivity and trust in accounting and financial reporting process to inspire public confidence in the Nigerian Financial and Economic System,” she said.

She also noted that AFIA is into collaboration with some governments organisations and ant graft agencies in Nigeria, including the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation, Federal Inland Revenue Service, Federal Ministry of Science and Technology, Police Service Commission, Federal Character Commission, Fiscal Responsibility Commission, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC), Financial Reporting Council (FRC), among others.

She disclosed that with the approval given by the Accountant General of the Federation in February this year, AFIA would commence training with these organisations in no distance time.
She said the training was aimed at imparting skills, since there is a move from traditional audit to forensic and investigative audit.

“When someone says you are transiting from one thing to another, it means that there’s and existing system that isn’t actually working and that is why we are doing this. We have traditional auditing and it’s as a result of the inadequacy in traditional auditing that brought about what we call forensic and investigative auditing, because it has everything it takes to see fraud no matter how small or big it is.

“The reason is because fraudsters are now using digital technological mechanism to commit fraud, and traditional auditors are still using old ways of tackling fraud which is no longer working, because fraudsters on their own have gone advanced, which is why we said that our vision is transparency in advanced audit. We have advanced knowledge on how to tackle, see and know why fraud take place and who is involved using our science and technology method,” she said.