Ndubuisi Francis and Udora Orizu in Abuja
The Chartered Institute of Forensic and Investigative Auditors of Nigeria (CIFIA) CIFIA has expressed concern that Nigeria ranks among nations with very poor record of fraud prevention globally.
The institute also decried the fact that despite the federal government’s renewed efforts in tackling corruption and financial crimes, very little had been achieved, especially in the area of securing conviction against perpetrators of financial fraud in government-owned organiations.
The President of CIFIA, Mrs. Enape Victoria Ayishetu, who spoke at a media briefing in Abuja, said, “It is more worrisome to know that despite the federal government renewed efforts in tackling corruption and financial crimes, very little result has been achieved, especially in the area of securing conviction against perpetrators of financial fraud in government organisations.”
High profile cases, she observed, were either thrown out for lack of evidence or are delayed and stocked in court for years due one reason or the other.
According to her, forensic and investigative audit represents a global paradigm shift from conventional auditing practice to skilful deployment of science and technological tools to prevent, detect and financial resolve financial accounts.
This class of auditors, she added, involve anti-fraud professionals whose academic backgrounds cut across accounting, law, criminology, cybercrime security, banking, economics and police detective among others.
She added that forensic auditing practice integrates investigative skills in order to resolve or exposé concealed or suspected financial fraud.
While applauding the successful passage of the Bill establishing the CIFIA professional body, she stated that the accounting profession has many branches with different responsibilities.
She also stressed the need to have a professional body like CIFIA to serve as a check on the financial statements prepared by financial accounts and also achieve the agenda of the federal government in combating frauds, corruption and other financial crimes as enshrined in section 15(5) of the Constitution (as amended).
According to her, in the United States of America and United Kingdom (UK), all auditing-related disciplines, including forensic and investigative auditing are treated as independent disciplines from accounting.
She further explained that following the enactment of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 in response to the multi-billion dollar accounting and auditing scandals at Enron and World.com, emphasis is now placed on the need for independent objectivity and professional skepticism on the part of forensic and investigative auditors.
The primary domain of forensic and investigative auditing, she added, is to work within the investigative process from the scene of financial fraud to the court, providing information and evidence for administration of justice.
Ayishetu stated: “CIFIA ensures that the courts are presented with the best evidence and reliable witness, the place of the Chartered Institute of Forensic and investigative Auditors of Nigeria cannot be overemphasised, as it is necessary to provide the legal framework for the registration, training, regulation and certification of practitioners in line with global best practices.”