• Inducts 58 associates
By Samuel Bello
The serene precinct of the Anti-Corruption Academy of Nigeria (ACAN), owned by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), along the Abuja-Keffi Road, came alive at the weekend.
The occasion was the graduation of the first batch of interns and the induction of a second batch of associates of the Society for Forensic Accounting and Fraud Prevention (SFAFP).
Twenty-eight interns passed out while 58 candidates were inducted associates at the ceremony witnessed by many family members, friends, associates and well-wishers of the inductees.
The pioneer graduates of the society held their heads high amid an outpouring of respect and applause upon receiving their certificate of membership.
Chairman of the board of trustees of SFAFP, Benjamin Osisioma, charged them to be the arrowhead of a new paradigm by contributing towards bringing culture, good ethics and morals to the nation.
Osisioma, who expressed confidence in the ability of the new members of SFAFP to deliver on their mandate, said they had been groomed to face the next level of strengthening anti-graft agencies like the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), ICPC and other accounting organisations interested in fighting corruption.
He said: “We want to give teeth to this project of fighting corruption and the only way we can do it is train forensic accountants. After documents have been burnt, they can retrieve the real documents there, they’re fingerprints experts; even cybercrime, on how to follow them up and follow a trail.
“Every crime has a trail, the forensic accountants have been trained to follow that trail and help nail culprits.”
The BoT chairman, however, identified lukewarm support from those that would gain from forensic accounting and strong opposition from those who gain from the old order some of the major challenges affecting the sector.
Osisioma did not hesitate in urging the Federal Government to key into forensic accounting, noting that it was a key area that deserved government’s attention: “The problem with a new scheme is that those who profited under the old scheme do not like you and they are very strong about it and those who will benefit from the new are lukewarm in their support.
“We hope that the government will realise what we are trying to do; we have not asked anybody for aid, we have mobilised the little we have. If you see what we sunk into this work to make sure that these people are trained and graduated, you will see that we need the support and we will not let up and we are not asking for hand-outs.”
In the same vein, Executive Secretary of SFAFP, Dr. Abuchi Ogbuju, while addressing the inductees, commended them for having succeeded in creating a milestone for themselves but admonished them to be resolute in their practice.
Stressing that they would be the vanguard of forensic investigations, Ogbuju said: “They have been trained in the house of forensics, for identification, getting out financial information and investigating to the core and they have been trained on how to defend investigations, to present them in court and defend them without any lapses along the line. They have been trained in the art and science of the forensics, especially as it pertains to accounting.”
Ogbuju further harped on financial crime prevention instead of fighting it,
He said the graduates, would “be wonderful if we use them for fraud fighting; our target is to gear these people towards prevention of fraud because that is a better approach than the issue of fighting fraud. It will direct the minds of people to better rectitude in terms of financial responsibilities.”