Accountants move against bill on forensic, investigators auditors
The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) has condemned the consideration of a bill for the establishment of Chartered Institute of Forensic and Investigators Auditors (CIFIAN) by the National Assembly.
ICAN declared that forensic accounting is adequately covered within the scope of the training that the institute provides and therefore, the quest for a separate body for just Forensic accounting is totally uncalled for.
The contentious Chartered Institute of Forensic and Investigators Bill 2018 (SB581), has been passed by the Senate and awaiting the concurrence of House of Representatives.
Addressing newsmen in Lagos, the President of the Institute, Razak Jaiyeola said the new body doesn’t have any professional gap that it would fill and should be discarded. He noted that it amounts to proliferation of accountancy bodies and an incursion on its areas of competency.
“Whatever perceived lacuna that this Bill seeks to fill has been adequately covered within the scope of services that ICAN members render. Consequently, the need for the establishment of a Chartered Institute of Forensic and Investigative Auditors in Nigeria does not arise at all. ICAN established seven faculties, which are specialist knowledge areas in response to global best practices and business dynamics, these faculties include; Audit, Investigation and Forensic Accounting, Taxation and Fiscal Policy Management; Consulting and Information Technology; Insolvency and Corporate Re-Engineering; Public Finance Management; Corporate Finance Management; and Financial Reporting.
The faculties, he said train members in their areas of specialization and provide specialist certification courses as well as issue certificates to qualified members as evidence of expertise.
According to him, the establishment of a separate institute just to enable an individual to practice as an auditor (conventional or forensic) is against international best practice. He said this is because ICAN has since 1965 been taking charge of this responsibility to the satisfaction of users of accounting services, both in public and private sectors of the Nigerian economy. We wish to emphasize that virtually every aspect of the functions that the Bill is seeking to address has been adequately covered and is practically being implemented by ICAN.
‘It is therefore improper for Section 18 of the proposed Forensic Accountants Bill to criminalize people who are already practicing Forensic Accounting before the enactment of the Act. It imposes a fine of N50, 000 and N100, 000 respectively or two years imprisonment against ICAN members who had already been practicing Forensic Accounting before the inception of this Bill.
According to him, ‘It is for the national interest, respect and the highest sense of responsibility and professionalism to inform the public that a search conducted at the Corporate Affairs Commission revealed that the Body on Forensic and Investigative Audit is a family business and has nothing whatsoever to do with professionalism.
The institute lamented that the promoter of the Bill, who is a staff in the Office of The Accountant General of the Federation, has no minimum standard of knowledge or track record to qualify him practice Forensic Accounting as a profession.
He added that the promoter is already addressing and acting as a Chartered Institute of Forensic & Investigative Auditors without the bill been passed into law.