Fred Ezeh, Abuja
Association of National Accountants of Nigeria (ANAN) has challenged its members and all certified Accountants to arm themselves with 21st-century skills that would help them assist government curb fraud and financial crimes in Ministries Departments and Agencies (MDAs).
To achieve that, the Association challenged its members to engage in regular self-development, bringing themselves up to speed with technological tools that are relevant to the fight against corruption which has taken a different dimension.
Chairman of ANAN FCT 1 branch, Wahab Shina Omoniyi, who dropped the suggestions at the 2020 International Accountants’ Day in Abuja, said that Accounting is a noble profession and Accountants should be in the vanguard of the fight against corruption and other financial crimes.
He expressed regret that despite huge financial and human resources that Nigeria is blessed with, it is still confronted with indices of under-development across all sectors, attributing it to corruption.
Omoniyi described the theme for this year’s event, ‘Anti-Corruption Fight in Nigeria: The Role of Accountants in Filling the Gaps’, as germane and timely, emphasising that members in FCT have the responsibility of taking the message of anti-corruption to young people by instilling the right attitude in them.
He said: “We all clamour for good governance and yearn for a better society mostly through our tongues. But what are we doing in our little corner to walk the talk? I believe our actions will speak louder than our voices.
“The fight against corruption should be seen as the collective efforts of all stakeholders, besides the fact that there’s hardly any corrupt practice without the connivance of an Accountant.”
The Guest Speaker and Board member, Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), Abdullahi Maikano Saidu, expressed regret that despite the robust financial policy and guidelines such as IPPIS, BVN, TSA and others introduced recently to curb corruption, Accountants have failed in their complementary roles.
He added that corruption has further led to the loss of confidence in Nigeria by its citizens at home and in Diaspora, insisting that activities of fraudsters, corrupt public officials and misgovernance by leaders call for worry.
He said, “On the international scene, Nigeria has been blacklisted as a state in which integrity and transparency are alien and where no transaction occurs without greasing palms.
“Leading professional Accounting bodies in Nigeria, notably, ANAN and ICAN, have a lot to do in the fight against corruption. It is a well-known fact that there is no successful financial fraud in both public and private sector without the cooperation and involvement of Professional Accountants.
“Emphasis should be on Forensic Audit rather than the traditional audit procedures. Accounting Departments in the various tertiary institutions should redirect their focus on Forensic Accounting. Federal and States Auditor-Generals should as a matter of utmost concern engage the services of Forensic Experts.”
Meanwhile, a Senior Accounting professional and Chairman, Anti-corruption Compliance Committee of ANAN, Rakiya Opemi Yusuf, in her remarks noted that fraud and corruption do not only involve finances, as any deliberate attempt to deviate from laid down rules and principles in corporate business organisations or human setting is an act of corruption.
She charged members to abide by the ethics of the Accounting profession which include integrity, objectivity, confidentiality and adherence to rules.