‘Africa’s $148b yearly loss to financial crime not well investigated’
• AFAR urges forensic probe
Forensic accounting researchers are claiming that the $148 billion which African countries, including Nigeria, lose to fraudulent acts yearly has not been properly investigated.
They expressed worry that the trend would become almost irreversible until businesses and government agencies approach economic and financial crimes with science-based forensic investigations.
The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) had earlier revealed that Africa lose a whopping $148 billion yearly to various fraudulent activities, and that the amount represents about 25 percent of the continent’ s average Gross Domestic Products (GDP).
But the experts, under the aegis of the Association of Forensic Accounting Researchers (AFAR), maintained that most of these fraudulent activities lacked depth in terms of forensic research and the situation has continued to sabotage various efforts to get to the root of the scourge.
At the inaugural lecture of the association in Lagos, President of AFAR, Dr. Godwin Oyedokun, said that absence of research in forensic had opened doors to more offences in critical sector of the economy, including petroleum, trade, industrial, infrastructure, power and banking.
According to him, deep research would answer the questions of why, how and when of fraudulent activities and how they 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.
“The economy still suffers huge deficit because of the incompetence of its managers in various sectors. In most organisations, there is a gap with respect to who is a forensic professional, how can forensic engagement resolve allegations of corruption and what body of knowledge is suitable for the practice of forensics. These and many more are the gaps AFAR sought to bridge.”
AFAR as an organization was 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 States of America.