‘Lack of regulator for forensic audits threatens financial system’
The Chattered Institute of Forensic and Investigative Audit (CIFIAN) has warned that the Nigerian financial system is in great danger due to the lack of appropriate legal framework to regulate forensic and investigative audit practice in the country.
Pro tem President of CIFIAN, Dr Victoria Enape who gave the warning during the induction of new members in Abuja, maintained that the lacuna is evident in the country’s spending on foreign expatriate to investigate corporate fraud.
Describing ICAN’s continual attempts to frustrate the bill as an act of “parochial interest” she said the establishment of CIFIAN would not amount to balkanization of accounting profession in Nigeria as the institute is not another accounting body like ICAN and ANAN.
She said: “CIFIAN is an anti-fraud body saddled with the responsibility of providing skills to relevant professionals in the use of science and technology for prevention, detection and investigation of fraud and also put in place mechanisms to prevent future occurrence and illicit financial flows in the country”.
Enape cited a letter written to the leadership of House Representatives by the 54th President of ICAN, Razaq Jaiyeola, in which the institute urged lawmakers not to consider the CIFIAN bill.
According to them, ICAN had argued that establishment of CIFIAN would amount to the duplication of the accounting profession.
She pointed out that CIFIAN is to regulate the practice of forensic and investigative Auditing in Nigeria as it is being practiced in other jurisdictions where similar anti-fraud organizations exist together with accounting bodies.
She added that ICAN and other accounting professional bodies are under the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) but CIFIAN will be under International Federation of Forensic Accountants and Auditors (IFFAA).
Dr Enape added that ICAN leadership had earlier visited President Muhammadu Buhari, urging him not to give assent to the Bill, which was jointly sponsored by the Senate Leader, Ahmed Lawan and Sen. Andy Uba.
According to her, the ICAN team led by Jaiyeola stressed that the Bill seeks to criminalise the age-long practice of accountancy by members of ICAN, adding that there is no defined gap in the practice and regulation of accountancy it seeks to fill.
In the letter sent to the House of Representatives by ICAN sighted by The Guardian, and argued that no one can become an auditor without first acquiring ‘sufficient and appropriate knowledge’, experience and skills and also passing the qualifying examinations of any of the legally recognised Professional Accounting bodies in Nigeria.
“It is therefore strange for the new bodies which the above bills seek to establish to produce specialist ‘forensic and investigative auditors’ who will not first be professional accountants as defined by the ICAN law enacted by the parliament.”