The Association of Forensic Accounting Researchers (AFAR) has said the reported $148 billion African countries, including Nigeria lose to fraudulent acts on annual basis has not been properly investigated.
It noted that the trend would become almost irreversible until businesses and government agencies approached economic and financial crime with science based forensic investigations.
The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) had revealed that African continent lose a whopping $148 billion annually to various fraudulent activities, saying the act represented about 25 per cent of the continent’s average Gross Domestic Products (GDP).
But AFAR argued that most of these fraudulent activities lacked depth in terms of forensic research and has continued to sabotage various efforts to get to the root of the scourge.
Speaking at the inaugural lecture of the association in Lagos, the President of AFAR, Dr Godwin Oyedokun, reiterated that absence of research in forensic investigation had opened doors to more offences in critical sector of the economy including petroleum, trade, industrial, infrastructure, power and banking sector.
He noted that deep research would answer the questions of why, how and when of fraudulent activities and how it can be curbed to help Nigeria realise its potentials and retain its pride of place in Africa.
“Unfortunately, most employers engage the services of accountant instead of forensic accountants who are versed and professional enough to detect fraud red flags and handle situation,” he stated.
“The economy still suffers huge deficit because of the incompetence of its managers in various sectors.
“In most organisation, there is a gap with respect to who is a forensic professional, how can forensic engagement resolve allegations of corruption, what body of knowledge is suitable for the practice of forensics etc, these and many more are the gaps AFAR sought to bridge.
“AFAR as an organisation is established to enhance education in forensic accounting research in Africa and beyond ,with members in Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia, Mozambique, Cameroon, Ghana, Canada, United Kingdom and in the United State of America.
“The association would also collaborate with international and local relevant professional organisations to achieve its goal of promoting the education of forensic research and practices,” he added.
In addition to engaging the service of professionals, a governing council member of the association and Vice Chancellor of Lead City University, Prof. Aderemi Adeyemo, also advised government and private investors to create an enabling environment for professionals to conduct research, and unhindered access to data needed to detect and prevent criminal tendencies in the economy.