Forensic Auditors’ Bill: CIFIA Replies ICAN, Says Your Conduct Not In National Interest
THE promoters of Chartered Institute of Forensic and Investigative Auditors of Nigeria (CIFIA), have taken a swipe at the Institute Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) for casting aspersions on the passages of Forensic and Investigative Auditors of Nigeria.
Protem President of CIFIA, Mrs Victoria Enape, on behalf of other promoters in a response to ICAN’s criticisms, described the move as unfortunate development, arguing that the publications of the press briefings granted by ICAN boss was to malign reputations of some persons and discredit the institute.
The Bill was jointly sponsored by the senate majority Leader, Senator Ahmed Lawan from Yobe North and Senator Andy Uba from Anambra.
ICAN had during a press briefing in July 13 agitated that establishing CIFIA as an institute through an Act would amount to duplication of duties, saying the institute is already carrying out the functions meant for Accountants.
But reacting to ICAN’s claims in a rejoinder made available to journalists in Abuja, Enape said the claims were baseless, wondering why Nigeria is still relying heavily on expatriate forensic and investigative auditors if the claims were true.
Enape explained that the bill is aimed at addressing shortcomings in the war against corruption.
She added that the whole world had gone digital and now fraudsters engage digital technologies in perpetrating fraud which has made traditional auditing inadequate.
“Our attention was drawn to the press briefing, which was carried out by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) on Friday 13th July, 2018 on the passage of the Chartered Institute of Forensic and Investigative Auditors of Nigeria Bill by the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, on 5th July, 2018.
“Ordinarily, we would have ignored the baseless issues raised in the press briefings but for the sake of the public who are being misled by this unfortunate development and posterity, we are inclined to offer some clarifications so that the whole world would discern between the truth and a deliberate effort to thwart the noble course that is beyond an individual or personal and parochial interests,” she said.
She stated categorically that ICAN issuing forensic accounting certificate amounts to illegality because there is no forensic in the Act establishing ICAN Act.
Enape further stressed that the insinuation in some quarters that the proposed CIFIA would bring some financial burden on the public funds is untrue because the institute is self-sustaining.
She noted, “ICAN is the oldest professional body in Nigeria, so it is expected that it should be behaving like a spoilt brat that is opposed to any idea of new child by his parents.
“ICAN has acquired the reputation of opposing every professional body in Nigeria that has to do with financial management in Nigeria. ICAN opposed the creation of ANAN, CLTN, and several others, losing all legal battles.
“So, we must discountenance the antics of ICAN and support the bill, because of its noble objectives and potential impact.”
She explained that CIFIA would save Nigerian government the cost of inviting foreign forensic auditors for fraud investigation as it were.
CIFIA boss said to some large extent it takes only Nigerian forensic auditors who know the terrain to be able to track or investigate fraud successfully in Nigeria, saying that it is therefore important to patronise made in Nigeria to grow Nigeria.
“One major advantage that this body would bring to our anti-corruption fight and crusade is that, it will not only partner with relevant government agencies, but will also help to train their agents and staff through to certification on the use of science and technology of forensic and investigative audit skills for auditing of financial statement and put in place some advanced mechanisms to prevent frauds in their various organisations to avoid reacting to fraud issues after such had taken place which has not yield results in our country over the years,” said.
The detailed rejoinder can be found below:
FORENSIC AND INVESTIGATIVE AUDITORS OF NIGERIA A REJOINDER TO ICAN PUBLICATION
The Distinguished Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria on Thursday 5th July, 2018, passed the Forensic and Investigative Auditors of Nigeria (Establishment, Etc.) Bill, 2018, after it was read for the Third Time, upon the presentation and consideration of the report of the Senate Committee on Establishment and Public Service. For this feat, we must wholeheartedly commend the Senate for taking this legislation bold step, which would no doubt, impact positively on the way and manner the forensic auditing system and investigations, would be carried out in the country. Posterity would remember the 8th Senate for this laudable achievement.
However, we wish to bring to the attention of the public that soon after the Bill was passed by the Senate, the President of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN), went on rampage, in their usual fashion, to organize press conferences and going from one media house to another, casting aspersions on this wonderful and noble work, the Senate has done.
Their stoke-in-trade over the years is to oppose any noble course, relating to the profession, generally, so as to have monopoly over everything, including those things that are outside the scope of their professional competences. It should be stressed that the Senate, as a resilient and open-minded Chamber, subjected the Bill to a Public Hearing, where all the stakeholders were given opportunities to canvass their views for and against the passage of the Bill.
After the Public Hearing, the Senate saw the merits and justification to pass the Bill into law, and for someone who failed in his attempts to stop the passage of the Bill, to now resort to this campaign of calumny, is rather unfortunate.
The Senate as a sacred Institution must be respected at all cost and its activities are beyond any parochial or selfish interest of any individual or organization, hence, the need for ICAN to trade with caution over his unbecoming conducts, which is informed by lack of understanding of the legislative acumen.
Our attention was drawn to the press briefing, which was carried out by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) on Friday 13th July, 2018 on the passage of the Chartered Institute of Forensic and Investigative Auditors of Nigeria Bill by the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, on 5th July,2018. The Bill was jointly sponsored by the senate majority Leader, Senator Ahmed Lawan from Yobe North and Senator Andy Uba from Anambra.
Ordinarily, We would have ignored the baseless issues raised in the press briefings but for the sake of the public who are being misled by this unfortunate development and posterity, we are inclined to offer some clarifications so that the whole world would discern between the truth and a deliberate effort to thwart the noble course that is beyond an individual or personal and parochial interests.
This is obviously a hatchet job orchestrated by ICAN. This malicious and mischievous publication had two discernable objectives in mind firstly, to distract us from playing our role as promoters of CIFIA by malign our reputation and to project a supposed bad image of CIFIA to the general public by writing under different headlines to mislead the general public.
As a thorough bred and accomplished professionals with strong family and religious values who guard their reputation jealously, we deem it appropriate to defend our name as promoters and professional passion by setting the records straight especially as its concerns our selfless and altruistic involvement with the promotion of the noble objectives of CIFIA, as well as our professional accomplishment which forms the basis for the former.
It should be noted that while this malicious publication can be easily dismissed by every discerning mind considering the timing and the obvious lies conveyed in the publication, leaving such lies in the public domain without appropriate response may be interpreted by unsuspecting members of the public as conceding to the antics of ICAN publications. We therefore wish to set forth the following critical facts as our rejoinder to these mischievous and calumnious publications by ICAN.
Having gone through the mischievous and malicious publications of ICAN, we found out their ignorance in all ramifications. ICAN was referring to the Chartered Institute of Forensic and Investigative Auditors of Nigeria, but in the real sense, ICAN was confusing themselves by describing something else and not the CIFIA Bill that was passed by the senate. This is because ICAN’s allegation lack merit as it is not in line with the contents of the CIFIA Bill at all. However we have the following responses to some issues ignorantly raised by ICAN.
1. On the issue of integrity raised by ICAN.
ICAN said they have public interest mandate to discourage and resist dilution of professional standards and quality. Therefore CIFIA Bill that was already passed by the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria should be discarded to safeguard the integrity of their noble profession. WOW; what a wonderful quotation?.
The question to ask ICAN is: Where have they been with their professional excellence when Nigeria has been burning with fire of corruption, bribery, fraud, money laundering and financial crime which have for long ravaged our economy and dwarfed development? Is it not the case, as shown by empirical research and legal pronouncements that these social vices that led to the collapse and failure of many companies were aided and abetted by invidious and insidious accounting practices by the so-called ‘know-it-all’ accountants?
In fact, ICAN and their cohort should be hiding their faces in shame because it is their reprehensible and opprobrious accounting practices that largely contributed to the failure of corporate governance and collapse of many large corporate organizations, with devastating consequences. Had they been altruistic and less opportunistic in their practices, the corruption perception index of Nigeria would not be as bad as it is and has been over the years.
It is unfortunate that ICAN does not even know its boundary as a non government agency. ICAN has conferred on itself power to direct the distinguished senate and the House of Representatives of the federal Republic of Nigeria on how to discharge their constitutional duties. ICAN that have failed in its duty towards our country Nigeria all these years, is now talking of integrity.
ICAN have enjoyed monopoly over the years until it became difficult for them to regulate the conduct their members like it is done in other professions, like Nigeria Bar Association and others. ICAN that have failed woefully in the area of discipline of its earring members is now talking of integrity. ICAN with its integrity in Nigeria was fully on ground when government treasury became empty that has put us in this sorry state, of one of the most corrupt nation in the world. This is rather unfortunate.
2. On the allegation that the CIFIA Bill is a family business
With respect to the spurious allegation by ICAN that CIFIA is a family affair and the CIFIA Bill that was passed would pave way for the perpetuation of the family interest, it is important to point out that there is no provision of the CIFIA Bill that makes anybody a member of the council based on blood ties, or life members of the Governing Council. Clause 4 of the CIFIA Bill passed by the Senate provides for the election, qualification and tenure of the President, Vice President, and other officials of the CIFIA, and nowhere is it provided that the above offices are hereditary or based on blood ties to any family.
These offices are opened to all members who possess certain professional qualifications stipulated under clause 4(6) of the Bill and not dependent on members’ ties to a particular family. We are so surprised about the false allegations being propagated by a professional body like ICAN who should be thinking on to collaborate with this noble profession that have come to Nigeria to fill a vacuum.
Chartered Institute of Forensic and Investigative Auditors of Nigeria (CIFIA) has its promoters structured significantly admitting distinguished personalities of diverse academic and professional backgrounds into promoting group considering the multidisciplinary nature of its successor. Besides, we want to state that AFIA and CIFIA are two different ball games and that means that AFIA in CAC has no legal consequence on CIFIA Bill that was just passed by the senate. While AFIA in CAC was registered as a Non-profit making organization with the Trustees as reconstituted in April, 2018, CIFIA Bill just passed by the Senate for the purposes of granting a legislative recognition has its own distinguished personalities as promoters, which includes.
1. About three Professors of Accounting;
2. About four Doctors of Accounting;
3. Fellows of the two approved accounting professional bodies in Nigeria;
4. About two professionals in private practice and others.
Given the pedigree of the members of the Council as mentioned above, it smacks of malicious mischief for ICAN to describe the CIFIA and its enabling Bill just passed by the senate as a family business.
This shows ICAN’s unbridled utterances out of their endless envy about any new professional body in Nigeria as their normal ways of life. On the contrary, the Bill will pave way for the professional development and certification of forensic and investigative auditors to boost Nigeria’s war against fraud and corruption.
We need not to add here that several eminent professional bodies in Nigeria including the Chartered Institute of Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) that is now discrediting the perfect work done by Nigerian senate on the passage of CIFIA Bill, were started by private individuals as registered associations before their eventual legislative recognition. CIFIA has not departed from this long established approach.
3. ICAN said that the functions and responsibilities in the Chartered Institute of Forensic and Investigative Auditors of Nigeria (CIFIA) Bill just passed by the senate is contained in their Act of 1965.
This specialized profession is not in the enabling Act of ICAN of 1965 as they are claiming. In fact, there was nothing like forensic Auditing or Accounting in the whole world even in early 1980s let alone in 1965 when ICAN law was enacted.
If ICAN members have been practicing Forensic Accounting and Auditing according to them, one may be compelled to ask them the basis of that since it is not contained in their enabling ACT of 1965.
Besides, why has Nigerian government heavily depends of expatriates Forensic Auditors over the years? Therefore, ICAN’s claim is baseless and untrue and therefore be disregarded by the general public. I think ICAN need to find out more to know the different between Accounting profession and Forensic and Investigative Audit, the current trend in the whole world.
4. ICAN went further to accuse the senate of creating a parallel professional body in a Punch newspaper on 22nd July, 2018.
ICAN,’’ the know it all’’ Accountant has no moral right to warn against what it characterizes “proliferation of accountancy bodies in Nigeria or a parallel professional body”.
It shows their wicked, unbridled and opportunistic desire to monopolize the accounting practice in Nigeria. ICAN did the same thing against the establishment of ANAN bill, and they woefully failed in that voyage.
ICAN used the same worn-out argument against the CITN bill, whose promoters were mostly their members, to frustrate the passage of the Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria’s(CITN) bill, and they again failed in their enterprise.
Now, they have started foraging in their usual futile, circumlocutory fashion to mislead the general public and the House of Representative on CIFIA bill. This unethical and mischievous behavior of ICAN should be neglected.
Unfortunately CIFIA is not Accounting Professional Body but anti-fraud organization that it cut across other professions. ICAN has failed already.
The question to ask ICAN is: Where have they been with their professional excellence when Nigeria has been burning with fire of corruption, bribery, fraud, money laundering and financial crime which have for long ravaged our economy and dwarfed development?
Is it not the case, as shown by empirical research and legal pronouncements that these social vices that led to the collapse and failure of many companies were aided and abetted by invidious and insidious accounting practices by the so-called ‘know-it-all’ accountants.
In fact, ICAN and their cohort should be hiding their faces in shame because it is their reprehensible and opprobrious accounting practices that largely contributed to the failure of corporate governance and failure of many large corporate organizations, with devastating consequences.
Had they been altruistic and less opportunistic in their practices, the corruption perception index of Nigeria would not be as bad as it is and has been over the years. The contextual background to the heightened interest in the war against corruption, fraud and financial crime is traceable to corporate governance concern of at least three antecedent kinds.
It is worthy of note that the corporate failures became scandalous not only because of the characteristics of the companies (size, age and their reported past successes) that collapsed and their multiplier effect on national and global economies, “but also because of the discovery that questionable accounting practices were far more insidious and widespread than previously envisioned”.
Their financial statements were all prepared and audited by ICAN and their counterparts elsewhere.
Besides; How can a country of nearly 200 million people (198 million by the most recent estimate of the Nigerian Population Commission and projected to be the world’s 3rd largest population by 2050, that’s in the next 32 years) feel happy and occupationally contented with just 2 professional accounting bodies? Smaller countries have over 10 professional accounting bodies.
For over 50 years of its existence, ICAN has produced less than 100,000 accountants that is roughly 1 accountant to nearly 2,000 Nigerians. Now, if you add foreign businesses in Nigeria, that figure will even recede.
So, where therefore lies the incompetence they are talking about? Who among them is more qualified than the promoters of CIFIA bill? Is it not the same argument of incompetence that they used against promoters of ANAN and CITN Bills? They even took ANAN to court and lost all their cases.
Today, they are wining and dining on the same table. The importance of CIFIA establishment:
The absence of the appropriate legal framework for the regulation of forensic and investigative auditing practice in Nigeria portends great danger to the integrity and safety of the Nigerian financial system.
The first noticeable consequence of such a lacuna is that Nigeria currently spends hundreds of millions of her scarce foreign exchange to hire forensics experts to investigate corporate fraud as it happened in the wake of the controversial missing $20 Billion at the NNPC.
Also, very recently, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala , Nigeria’s former Minister of Finance acknowledged in her book , ‘’ Fighting Corruption is Dangerous’’, that in 2013, in a bid to verify and reconcile humongous subsidy claims by private oil marketers put at about $8.4 billion for the year 2011, the Federal Ministry of Finance then under her watch employed the services of forensic auditors from price water house Coopers to assist the Technical Committee with the work ( see PP.38 – 39).
Apart from over dependence on expatriate forensic experts, another consequence of the absence of a legal framework for the regulation of forensic and investigative auditing in Nigeria is that other existing professional institutes with no clear statutory mandate over this emerging profession have unilaterally extended their regulatory tentacles to cover this area of forensic which is a specialized area, just because of its lucrative nature as a current trend which is wrong.
Unfortunately, such an attempt has turn out to be counterproductive as a result ill-equipped forensic auditors practicing without adequate specialized training leading to the indictment of many for professional negligence.
For instance, Dr Okonjo Iweala in her recent publication cited above disclosed that “external auditors of the Federal Ministry of Finance were found negligent in their duties (see pp.39)
It is obvious from the foregoing that there is an urgent need to establish a professional institute such as the Chartered Institute of Forensic and Investigative Auditors of Nigeria (CIFIA), to address the shortage of forensic experts in Nigeria and to particularly cater for the professional training and ethics of the profession.
Accordingly, what is contemplated under this Bill is revolutionary. The Bill just passed will create the desirable platform for robust training of anti-fraud professionals of diverse academic backgrounds cutting across accounting, law, criminology, cyber security, banking, police detectives.
What is proposed under this Bill takes into consideration the importance of interdisciplinary collaboration to achieve the results. To this end, the Bill takes forensic and investigative auditors “to mean and include persons with the skills and professional training to deploy science and technological tools to prevent, detect, audit and or resolve financial fraud or possible criminal activity concealed in financial accounts irrespective of their academic background”
Forensic auditing proposed under this bill integrates investigative skills in order to resolve or expose concealed or suspected financial fraud. It also encompasses other important aspects of forensic evidence gathering such as forensic evidence mining and presentation of evidence in the standard prescribed by law.
This new approach will ultimately reverse the ugly trend where fraud cases are often lost on the grounds of failure of evidence to conform to standard.
This is not just all about auditing, but an advanced auditing that is science and technology based due to the sophisticated nature of fraud in the present day, which involves litigation. But ICAN’s duty is just to regulate Accountants and that all. ICAN enabling Act of 1965 does not empower them to carry out Forensic Accounting and Auditing as claimed by them. Therefore, any Forensic accounting certificate being issued by ICAN amounts to illegality, and its right time ICAN recount her steps.
CIFIA emphasis is on FORENSIC AND INVESTIGATIVE AUDIT and not just accounting. The whole world has gone digital and Nigeria need to embrace this current trend, because fraudsters now engages digital technologies is perpetrating fraud and that why CIFIA emerged in Nigeria to salvage our country from total collapse.
Note: ICAN should know that Accountant is an Auditor but an Auditor must or may not be an Accountant. Forensic and investigative auditor need knowledge of Accounting to unravel manipulations of Accounting facts and figures in the financial statement prepared by an Accountant, therefore forensic auditors must not necessarily be only accountants, considering the nature of work involved.
Audit have a separate professional bodies in other parts of the world, therefore, the fact that Financial Accountants ICAN etc, have been enjoying monopoly over the years does not means it must continue like that. Besides, CIFIA is multidisciplinary in nature which draw its members from various professions like Law, criminology, Banking and Finance, Economics, security experts, Financial management, Auditing, Accountants, etc. This body is broad and not same with any existing Accounting body in Nigeria.
5. ICAN further alleged that section 18 of CIFIA Bill seek to criminalize people who are already practicing Forensic Accounting before and imposes a fine of N50,000.00 and N100,000.00 respectively or two years imprisonment against ICAN members who had already been practicing Forensic Accounting and Auditing.
There is no section in CIFIA Bill that made mention of ICAN, let alone criminalizing its members, or mentioned any punishment for ICAN members in CIFIA Bill. Therefore, we wonder where they are getting all these misleading information from.
It is so unfortunate that a professional body like ICAN who claimed to be protecting the integrity of accounting profession could not even understand a simple write up in a CIFIA Bill that was drafted in simple English to know which is which. Rather is missing up the whole thing and be confusing itself more and more.
6. ICAN said that one of the Promoters of the Bill is a staff of Accountant General of the Federation, a Federal worker who is still in service, but is also doubling as President
There is also no provision of the Public Service Rules or the Companies and Allied Matters Act that prohibit our participation in professional associations either as trustees or principal promoters.
There is no conflict of interest, rather our participation in such professional bodies would improve our skills as civil servant and also create the desired platform for the professional development of other colleagues in service.
Besides, Bill is yet to be signed by the President; therefore, ICAN should stop running faster than their legs. If we find out after the Bill is signed that a civil servant cannot be a president of a professional body, then we will know how to go about that and not now. This is an altruistic and patriotic undertaking not actions motivated by pecuniary benefits.
7. ICAN also said that the promoters are already addressing and acting as Chartered Institute without the Bill passed into law. Similarly, the proposed Institute is already awarding honorary membership, at a fee, for individuals that are not qualified to be registered members of AFIA. Here ICAN is not talking about CIFIA Bill that was passed by the senate; therefore, we owe no explanations. However,…
Honestly, we are pained because ICAN is politicalizing the concerns of professional bodies by being involved in an indiscriminate propaganda instead of joining hands with CIFIA to see how we can jointly return sanity back to Nigerian economy. This is unethical and they must repent of this without further delay.
Why not address issues, but attacking personality. ICAN should stop the attack on personalities and propagandas as a professional body, and remember that accounting professional body is not a political party that will be running her opponent down for selfish reasons. Therefore, they should trade with caution.
We hereby state here that we at CIFIA are not seeing ICAN as a threat even if they have forensic accounting in their Act; therefore CIFIA should not be seen as a threat to them as well, because the sky is too wide for two birds to clash.
After all, no professional body has Forensic Accounting or Forensic Auditing in their enabling Act as at the moment in Nigeria. I do not know why it has become an evil for a professional body like CIFIA which its mandates is a specialized one to exist in Nigeria. It should be noted, that any first child born into a family first who have decided to stop the mother from giving birth to another child is not a good member of that family.
Firstly, in rejecting this sustained effort by ICAN’s publications we wish to emphasize from the outset that it is the prerogative of the National Assembly pursuant to section 4(2) of the Constitution, item 49, Part I of the Second Schedule to the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, (as amended) to establish and grant parliamentary charter to deserving professional disciplines.
It is worthy of note that Nigerian Courts have given judicial recognition to the pre-eminent position of the National Assembly to establish and grant parliamentary charter to professional bodies in the case of Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) v The Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria (CITN), suit No. suit No.M/476/2005 per trial Judge, Honorable Justice Lateefat Okunnu J, wherein ICAN attempted unsuccessfully to have the Bill that sought to establish the Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria( CITN) to be declared void, the court held that,
“The law makers in their wisdom have created a new profession out for tax practice. It is not for the court of law to question them for so doing. Nor can the court attempt (by means of its pronouncements) to abrogate this law simply because a particular judge is not enamored of it. As it is said in legal circles, sentiments have no place in law. All that the court will do is to interpret laws in such a way as to give them the proper meaning and effect that the law makers intended”
It is therefore clear that not even the courts can interfere unduly with the powers of the National Assembly to establish and recognize professional bodies except to interpret and give effect to such a law if passed by the National Assembly. The ICAN who has decided to hold the whole country to ransom and its cohorts should therefore be disregarded and CIFIA Bill be accepted, on its merits considering the likely impact of the Bill on the war against fraud and corruption in Nigeria, particularly as it relates to mining crucial forensic evidence for the successful prosecution of fraudsters in the country.
Secondly, the National Assembly and the general public may wish to note that CIFIA is a body that has its roots from Canada. CIFIA in Nigeria just passed by the senate stands to attract global best practices as relates to anti- fraud and forensic and investigative techniques, eg USA, CANADA etc. This is only possible if CIFIA maintains its independent and specialized status as a body of forensic and investigative Auditors. It should be noted that even in Canada, USA, India and other countries with national bodies on forensic and investigative auditing, such bodies exists independent and separate from local professional accounting institutes because of the differences in their respective mandates. The CIFIA Bill just passed is not in conflict with any existing Act of the National Assembly, and therefore should be allowed to be.
Thirdly, the request by ICAN to discard the CIFIA Bill already passed by the senate is misplaced, unwarranted and is unknown to the Standing Rules of the Senate, in that ICAN presently has no forensic in its enabling Act of 1965. The proper procedure under the Senate Standing Rules is for either ICAN or any other to be ready to collaborate with CIFIA at the appropriate time if need be. The NASS should however disregard the propaganda of ICAN against the CIFIA Bill just passed and go ahead to establish an independent body of professional forensic and investigative auditors which is distinct in practice and functional responsibility from accountancy, the concern of ICAN. In this regard, the NASS should note that CIFIA is not forensic accounting but forensic and Investigative Auditing to serve as a check on accountants by exposing any fraud concealed in financial statements or other documents usually prepared by accountants. To discard CIFIA Bill already passed by the senate, a multidisciplinary professional body indeed which cannot be compared with either the Forensic Accounting of ICAN which is just a faculty for only its members, will not only contravene the Standing Rules of the Senate as explained above but also prove to be counterproductive since the two bodies will be operating at cross purposes.
Fourthly, the mandate of ICAN is over the regulation of members of accountancy profession and not forensic and investigative auditors which draws its membership from people of diverse academic backgrounds and disciplines such as the police, fraud and crime detectives, lawyers, Criminologists, Economics, Bankers, Information and Communication Technology experts etc. The primary focus of CIFIA is 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 have not and cannot achieve this objective being pursued by CIFIA. ICAN and others have performed below expectation especially even with respect to the discipline of professional accountants as evidenced by the increasing cases of financial fraud which has affected public and private sector organization.
If ICAN Forensic Accounting faculty as claimed by them have any mandate over the training and development of forensic and investigative auditors, then the Federal Government wouldn’t have been spending our foreign exchange to engage the services of expatriate firms with flare for forensic and investigative to come and unearth cases of financial fraud in Nigerian establishments. We need to appreciate, welcome and celebrate specialization in Nigeria which is the for best any country, and silence the professional body that always claim monopoly and stall progress.
What is generally conceded and empirically observed is that there is a global determination to root out corruption, fraud, money laundering and financial crime in any way the country deems expedient, including new legislations to deal with the monster.
8. in another breadth there is feeble attempt to discredit our professional certificates by alleging that one of the promoters is a registered student of ICAN who have not passed ICAN Exams
Let us state here without much ado that our professional qualifications can be verified by approaching the awarding professional bodies we belong and not through a hatchet job done by ICAN who arrogate to themselves such a sensitive responsibility of authenticating the position of our professional qualifications after browsing the internet indiscriminately. If ICAN were sincere in their motive, they would have written a letter duly signed by named ICAN directly to individual professional bodies in Nigeria. But we were not even contacted neither was any letter sent to our professional bodies. It was most convenient for them to browse the internet randomly, sip a cup of coffee and come up with a ‘damning verdict’ regarding our professional competence and qualifications.
This is most unfortunate and this type of infiltration of the noble profession of accounting to tarnish the reputation of other people using lies afforded by them further underscores the need for forensic investigators to unravel such charlatans. At the risk of sounding repetitive, we wish to state that our professional qualifications are verifiable by anybody. It is therefore our submission that our professional qualifications are not in doubt except to mischief makers. We also possess the practical experience needed to promote the establishment of a professional body like CIFIA. I wonder the level of the qualification of ICAN’s promoters in their time.
.9. They further alleged that we now give Honorary Fellowship to non qualified members of the public.
Honestly, ICAN keeps contradicting themselves in every bit of their mischievous publications due to their ignorance in the difference between ant-fraud organization (CIFIA) and ICAN. I think they need to be educative on what CIFIA stand for before they ever venture into this kind of public disgrace next time. It is obvious from the foregoing quotations that ICAN’s mischievous publication are not only out to discredit individual promoters of the CIFIA Bill but even public institutions such as the Senate. It should however be pointed out here that it is the prerogative of the National Assembly pursuant to section 4(2) of the Constitution, item 49, part I of the Second Schedule to the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as amended, to establish and grant parliamentary charter to deserving professional disciplines. These powers cannot be influenced by blackmail from those who due to their selfish reasons are opposed to the passage of the Bill.
9. On the allegations that the promoters of the CIFIA Bill have “appropriated and are already using the prefix “chartered” in their dealings with members of the public.
We need to clarify that all the activities of the promoters of the CIFIA Bill are intended to project their image as supporters of the Bill and as those who subscribed to the principles of the Bill. Thus, stationeries, promotional souvenirs are deliberately designed to project this image. Participation and membership subscription remain voluntary and based on individual volition so the allegation that the promoters of the CIFIA Bill have appropriated the prefix “ chartered “ without legislative approval is based on a misunderstanding of the practice. Similar precedents abound in Nigeria. This is the practice, this is the trend, and this is the precedent. It is a precedent that is well within the right of individuals to associate and assemble, and plan for the passage of laws that would give legislative recognition to their proposed association. Please ICAN, if you do not know this before, please you to know it now and stop this kind of public embarrassment next time.
From the foregoing, it is clear that the publication of 13th July, 2018 as it appeared in so many news papers is a hatchet job by ICAN who made a poor showing in their effort to oppose the passage of the CIFIA Bill, 2018 during the public hearing organized by the Senate Committee on Establishment and Public Service on the 14th March 2018, under the Chairmanship of Senator Paulker Emmanuel from Bayelsa.
It is rather an act of ignorance to publish such a spiteful report without thorough research on the subject matter. This is pure mischief intended to mislead the public and the House of Representative against the CIFIA Bill. The antics of ICAN should however be ignored.
The CIFIA Bill should be accepted by all and sundry because it will have direct benefit to the nation in several ways including the following –
(1) CIFIA will partner with relevant government agencies and help to train and certify their agents and staff on the use of science and technology to prevent, detect and investigate fraud no matter how big-small;
(2) It will help to strengthen the nation’s institutional capacity for preventing financial fraud thereby bringing us at par with other developed countries in line with global standards and competitiveness;
(3) It will stimulate public confidence in our financial fraud prevention mechanisms and enhance transparency and accountability in our economic system;
(4) It will also answer the question often posed by foreign investors as to the safety and guarantee of their foreign direct investments (FDIs) in our country;
(5) Having a home based forensic and Investigative Auditors will save the Nigerian government the cost of inviting Foreign Forensic Auditors for fraud investigation as it were in the case of NNPC regarding the missing Twenty billion Dollars ($20b) in the year 2014.
CIFIA is a patriotic Nigeria project that is on a rescue mission for our dear country, Nigeria. The CIFIA Bill is therefore a patriotic course that is wholly in the interest of the nation, and no one should be dissuaded or blackmailed to abandon this noble cause.
Dr. (Mrs) Enape Victoria Ayishetu
For: CHARTERED INSTITUTE OF FORENSIC AND INVESTIGATIVE AUDITORS OF NIGERIA (CIFIA) PROMOTERS
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