President, Chartered Institute of Investigative and Forensic Auditors (CIFIA) Dr Victoria Enape, has lauded the Senate over the passage of the CIFIA Bill. Enape, who spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Monday in Abuja, said that the Bill was passed at the most auspicious time and hailed the Senate for upholding the truth. The Bill for an Act to establish the Chartered Institute of Forensic and Investigative Auditors of Nigeria was jointly sponsored by Sen. Ahmed Lawan, the Senate Majority Leader and Sen. Andy Uba. Enape appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to assent to the Bill when transmitted to him.
The CIFIA boss said that forensic was the answer in the fight against corruption, adding that CIFIA had the mechanism to prevent fraud. She said that CIFIA would help in gathering evidence needed in prosecuting high profile corruption cases as it required Nigerian experts who knew the terrain to investigate and prosecute corruption cases. “First and foremost, I will like to commend the Nigeria Senate for being very transparent in the issue of the passage of this Bill from beginning to the end. I sincerely appreciate them and pray that the almighty God bless them and their generations for the good work they are doing for Nigeria.
“They saw that CIFIA has come to Nigeria at the right time and they did not compromise the truth. Indeed this is commendable. Forensic and Investigative auditors represent a global paradigm shift from traditional auditing practice to skillful deployment of science and technological tools to prevent, detect, or resolve financial fraud or expose possible criminal activity concealed in financial accounts. This is a profound genre of anti-fraud professionals, whose academic background cuts across accounting, law, criminology, cyber security, banking, economics, and police detectives. Forensic auditing integrates investigative skills in order to resolve or expose concealed or suspected financial fraud.’’ Enape said that the emergence of forensic and investigative auditing on the global scene was based on the realisation that fraudsters had gone sophisticated and in some instances taken advantage of the 21st digital revolution to perpetrate that which was undetectable by traditional auditing.
According to her, the primary domain of forensic and investigative auditing is to work within the investigative process from the scene of financial fraud to court, providing information and evidence for administration of justice; She said that CIFIA would help Nigeria to have skilled professionals to deepen the fraud prevention, detection and preserve money in government treasury for infrastructural development that is far disappearing in our country today, through transparency in advanced auditing system that engender integrity and objectivity. Enape said that CIFIA was not a treat to anybody in Nigeria as its primary focus was to introduce a new anti-fraud regime where vital evidence concealed in existing accounting practice can be secured for effective prosecution of offenders.
“The present accounting practice cannot achieve this objective being pursued by CIFIA. There is a need for specialization in Nigeria as it is practiced in other countries of the world. It should be stated that the intendment of CIFIA Bill is in line with global best practices. There are jurisdictions such as Canada, Belgium, U.K. USA, Germany, Austria, among others that are operating similar Institutes in order to create global focus on training for the present and future generation on how to combat the menace of fraud and corruption, which has assumed a high level of technological dimension that is destructive to any economy.
“ These countries have fared well over the years in the fight against fraud with the development of high-tech forensic technology in the prevention, detection and investigation of fraud. CIFIA is anti-fraud organisation that provide skills to internal and external auditors, lawyers, criminologist, cyber professionals, security experts, among others on how to make use of science and technological tools to detect, prevent and investigate fraud no matter how small-big, and also put in place some sophisticated mechanisms to prevent future occurrence,’’ she said. According to her, CIFIA membership is not limited to only accountants as it is multidisciplinary in nature.