By Gabriel Ewepu
ABUJA- Financial experts under the Society for Forensic Accounting and Fraud Prevention, SFAFP, at the weekend, hailed the Senate over passing of the Financial Intelligence Bill.
The Chairman, Board of Trustees, SFAFP, Prof Benjamin Osisioma, made the commendation at the maiden graduation of 28 new members and second batch induction of 58 associates of the society, at the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission, ICPC, Academy, Keffi, Nasarawa State.
Osisioma who described the graduation as historic said the new bill seeking to separate the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit, NFIU, from the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, will save the country if President Muhammadu Buhari assents to the Bill and from being expelled permanently by the EGMONT Group, a network of international
Financial Intelligence Unit with 154 member countries, which has suspended Nigeria as its member over the non-establishment of the NFIA as a unit standing autonomously.
According the Professor of Accounting, University of Azikiwe, Awka, the bill passed by the Senate was step in the right direction that would meet global best practices in fighting and prevention of corruption and other financial crimes in the country, would also boost its image.
Osisioma said: “The EFCC is facing some global challenges. The Financial intelligence wing is supposed to be an independent body operating separately.
“In as much as EFCC has tried to give it some autonomy to enable it to operate, but now, unless this particular trend is undertaken, we are going to be deregistered by the relevant authorities. So, it is like trying to protect our interest globally. It is not a bad decision.”
“What we are doing here too is to strengthen the financial intelligence agency, strengthen the EFCC, strengthen the ICPC and strengthen every accounting organisation that is really interested in fighting corruption.
“We want to give teeth to the fight against corruption and the only way we can do it is to train forensic accountant. Even after documents are burnt, forensic accountant can retrieve information from them. Every crime has a trial and the forensic accountant is trained to follow the trial.
Meanwhile, he said potentials of forensic accountants should be tapped, because of the intensive training they were made to undergo, which included mock court session on financial cases, which focused on how to bring the evidence together and convict criminals.
“We are helping to make sure that corruption does not kill Nigeria. We want to ensure that people stop embezzlement of public funds because if they do, forensic accountants will catch them. After documents are burnt or destroyed forensic accountant can retrieve such data, as every crime has a trail, the forensic accountants is trained to follow that trail and help to nail the culprit.
“The problem with the new scheme of fighting corruption is that those who profited under the old scheme will not allow it to work. Those who will benefit from the new scheme are lukewarm in their support”, he said.
In his speech the Executive Secretary, SFAFP, Dr Abuchi Ogbuju, stated that the training done on how to prevent fraud and other financial crimes in the country.
“What we did was to train out the vanguard. These are the main people we will use to do the work out there. They have been trained on how to defend their financial investigations and present them in court without any lapse along the line.
“They have been trained in the arts and science of accounting. Our target is to gear them towards prevention of fraud which is a better approach than fighting fraud. There is need for concerted efforts to kill corruption in Nigeria and we have brazen up to tackle this menace”, Ogbuju said.