By Ossom Raphael
The Association of Forensic and Investment Auditors (AFIA) has said an estimated 60 per cent of annual revenues of organisations lacks proactive fraud preventive measures, even as it raises alarm over what it described as increasing rate of fraud and corruption in public sectors in Nigeria and the African continent at large.
Mrs Victoria Ayishetu Enape, the AFIA President, who made the disclosure during a training and induction of new members themed “Transition to Forensic and Investigative Audut”, said that with fraud costing entities an estimated 60 percent of their annual revenues, organizations lacking proactive fraud preventive measures were the most vulnerable.
She, said that while the regulatory measures and internal controls in reporting requirements help to lessen the possibilities for falsified activities to take place, history has shown that indigenous employees could manipulated even the best control systems for personal gain.
Mrs Enape, explained that forensic and investigative auditors were trained with advanced auditing knowledge which enables them to see and detect what Statutory Auditors cannot see.
“Our work is to prevent, detect and put in place some measures to stop the wrong from taking place in future, through the use of science and technology.
“This implies that after training of members they will be equipped with advanced audit skills that enables them find out who, what, where, why, when and how the wrong took place.
“More importantly they will put together and implement the right systems and meaningful controls to prevent internal and external fraud from happening again,” she said.
The AFIA boss said that forensic Auditors looked beyond figures in financial statement as they focus on investigating the inadequacies and shortcomings in the existing financial system and tackling them.
“In the past 10 years, the number of reported cases of fraud and corruption has continued to grow radically across regions.
“Compounding these are the challenges faced by the audit team and a general lack of the necessary skills set to collect right audit evidence so critical to criminal investigations.
“Recent happening in most parts of the world show growing greed of human being and art of camouflaging of accounting facts and figures through deception by indulging in fraud and manipulation, depending upon the position that one holds.
“Government has lost a lot of money in the past few years to fraud which has emptied some country treasury’s like that of Nigeria, and this is due to the inability and inadequacies of traditional auditing process and reporting.
“Alarming increase of financial fraud, inability of internal audit to prevent and sniff out the financial fraud has given rise to new profession known as forensic and investigative audit,” she said.
The president called on the federal government to patronise the country’s forensic auditors to grow Nigeria by ensuring the speedy passage of the Chartered Institute of Forensic and Investigative Auditors in Nigeria Bill, which is currently at the Senate.
She noted that if federal government desires to eradicate corruption and prevent fraud, then it must join hands with the association to make sure that the Forensic and Investigative Audit Bill is passed.
“It is worth of note that AFIA is the last hope for our country Nigeria, because traditional audit has failed us and already expired long ago.
“This is the reason why in 2014, 20 billion dollars could miss in NNPC without any detection without any prescience of internal and External Auditors.
“AFIA is capable of transforming traditional or statutory Auditors through training and certification to enable them get the necessary skills that can help them to detect and prevent fraud.
“This will in turn assist in restoring sanity in Nigeria Financial Management system and bring back our economy to its original condition,” she said.
AFIA is the World’s leading anti-fraud organisation and the premier provider of forensic and investigative training audit training in Nigeria.
The proposed Chartered Institute of Forensic and Investigative Auditors in Nigeria Bill has scaled through first reading at the Senate. The bill aims to facilitate the transition from the traditional audit to forensic and Investigative audit.
The Association is for accountants, auditors, lawyers, police and other security agencies, stock brokers, tax professionals, economists, judicial officers and court registrars, criminologists, computer specialists and bankers.