WHAT WE DO
Entrenching an institutionalized framework that is targeted at preventing fraud, corruption and cyber crimes at its conception stage for the robust benefits of all Nigerians.
it is a statement of fact that as distasteful as it is to hear that our nation Nigeria is rated among countries with very poor fraud prevention records in the world, it is even more worrisome to know that despite the federal government renewed efforts in tackling fraud and corruption, very little result has been achieved, especially in the area of securing conviction against perpetrators of fraud in government organisations. This is because many of the cases, especially the high profile ones, are either thrown out for want of evidence or are unnecessarily delayed and stocked in court for years, due to one reason or the other.
Fraudsters have gone sophisticated and now engage digital technologies to perpetrate fraud, and it is impossible for such fraud to be detected by the usual ways. The worse of it all is that financial institution lost about N25b to fraud and cyber crimes within five years, and if this should be allowed to continue, then our economy will soon be crippled in a twinkling of an eye.
We need not to mention here that government agencies and multinational corporations spend huge sums out of our scare foreign exchange to retain expatriates forensic and investigative professionals to unravel complex cases of fraud in Nigeria including the federal government. This must not continue in a country like ours which is the giant of Africa when even a smaller country like South Africa and Zimbabwe has adopted the use of forensic Investigation in their country long ago. No country can experience economic growth that has poor or no fraud preventive measures in place
In this case our system requires an advanced knowledge of the use of sophisticated mechanisms and technological tools for prevention of fraud and cyber crimes. To this end there is a need for paladins shift to the new anti-fraud mechanisms for prevention of fraudulent occurrences, hence the need for the establishment of forensic investigative profession in Nigeria.
The emergence of forensic and investigative Professionals on the global scene was based on the realization that fraudsters had gone sophisticated and in some instances taken advantage of the 21st digital revolution to perpetrate that was undetectable by normal investigation. Major accounting and auditing scandals which lead to the collapse of corporate giants in the United States and parts of Europe compelled many corporate organizations in Europe to introduce forensic and investigative professionals as the best approach to the new face of fraud.
Landscape for forensic and investigative professionals around many nations of world is changing in response to the challenge of technology enabled – fraud. Nigerian law appears almost silent on these phenomena. The resultant effect is that there is presently a dearth of forensic and investigative professionals in Nigeria to offer professional support in the mining of evidence needed for the prosecution of fraudsters. Nigeria currently spends huge scarce foreign exchange to retain the services of expatriate forensic professionals to carry out assignments that are better performed by locally trained manpower. Apart from the huge revenue lost by the public and private organizations due to lack of effective anti-fraud mechanisms, this development has profound security implication on the nation and must be reversed through the signing into law the Chartered Institute Forensic and Investigative Professionals of Nigeria Bill.
It is suffice to state here that many nations like America, Canada, Europe, Middle East and Asia that are making significant progress in the fraud prevention and fight against white collar crimes, have not only fully embraced forensic investigation methods to prevent fraud, but have also continually review and update their fraud preventive measures and investigative policy to accommodate both private and public forensic professionals in order to cope with the rapid growth and sophistication of fraud in the private and public sectors of their economies.
Chartered Institute of Forensic and Investigative Professionals of Nigeria is anti-fraud organisation saddled with the responsibilities of providing skills for relevant professionals on the use of science and technology for prevention, detection and investigation of fraud, corruption and cyber crimes, and to put in place some sophisticated measures to prevent future occurrence and to stop illicit financial flows in the country.
The primary domain of forensic and investigative auditing is to work within the investigative process from the scene of fraud to court, providing information and evidence for administration of justice; CIFIPN ensure that the courts are presented with the best evidence and reliable witnesses. Therefore, the place of Forensic and Investigative Professionals in economic development in Nigeria cannot be overemphasized because it provide the legal framework for the registration, training, regulation and certification of practitioners in line with global best practices; Membership of this body cuts across different professions like Law, criminology, Accounting, Taxation, Investigators, economics, police detectives, Security experts, Psychology, sociology, cyber security experts etc.
This body shall have an academy to serve as the training arms of the institute where all prospective members undergo one year training and pass exams in three stages to qualify them for professional membership. (Forensic and investigative Professionals Academy or Colleges of Forensic and Investigative Professionals) These prospective members must be graduates in the relevant fields to qualify them for admission into forensic academy or colleges.
The proposed Chartered Institute of Forensic and Investigative Professionals of Nigeria (CIFIPN) Bill has the following main objectives
- This bill seeks to establish the Chartered Institute of Forensic and Investigative Professionals to develop and train Forensic and investigative Professionals in Nigeria, through a system of professional examination and certification that will make them qualified and more skilled in the use of science and technology for fraud prevention, detection and investigation.
- Amongst its basic functions and objectives, this bill seeks to create a platform which will produce qualified, dedicated, skilled and professionally trained individuals in the use of Forensic Science and Technological tools and the techniques of forensic for investigation of fraud in public and private sector of our economies, using international best practices and skills in the discharge of their function
- Going by its objectives therefore, this bill will promote high professional standards, ethics and etiquettes amongst her members in a bid to wipe out cases of fraud and corruption and also a mechanism for fraud prevention which is currently one of the banes of many practitioners in Nigeria.
- Interestingly, this Bill when passed makes provision for the training of professionals from other disciplines like Lawyers, Criminologists, Security Experts, Judicial Officers, Court Registrars, and economics, amongst others that are desirous to become skilled in this unique practice of fraud prevention, detection and investigation. This is because Forensic and Investigation involve litigation support, court testimony and expert witness.
- enhance Nigeria’s anti-fraud mechanisms through the provision of a legal framework for the professional development and discipline of forensic and investigative professionals in Nigeria;
- established a unique platform recognized by the legislature, for multi-disciplinary collaborations involving defense counsels, criminologists, Lawyers, cyber security experts, judicial officers, court registrars, police detectives, prosecutors and several others involved in gathering or analyzing forensic evidence required for prosecution of fraud cases in Nigeria; and
- to fill a huge vacuum in its proposed area of operation, the absence of which Nigeria will continue to spend her scarce foreign exchange to hire expatriate to do forensic investigations in cases of NNPC.
- Accordingly, the proposed Bill essentially the proposed Chartered Institute of Forensic and Investigative Professionals of Nigeria ( CIFIPN) is concerned with the professional development and discipline of those who work within the investigative process from the scene of fraud of all kinds to the court, providing information and evidence for administration of justice. CIFIPN is intended to ensure that the courts are presented with the best evidence and reliable witnesses through specialized forensic and investigative training of those involved in investigation of fraud cases in Nigeria. CIFIPN Bill is necessary to provide the legal framework for the registration, training, regulation and certification of practitioners in line with global best practices.
- The domain or practice areas of the members of the proposed CIFIPN are forensic analysis to eliminate material misstatement, whether caused by error fraud; prevention of assets misappropriation scams; global anti-corruption compliance and enforcement; litigation support, forensic investigation capacities, preparation of forensic reports, fraud risk management, corporate fraud analysis, fraud prevention, detection and investigation..
- There are many young Nigerians who have acquired academic degrees in forensic sciences and would need professional training tailored to Nigerian needs to be able to bring their knowledge to bear on the ongoing anti-corruption crusade. This further underscores the need for the passage of the CIFIPN Bill.
This Institute has been actively been involved in the training of professionals from different fields, and has trained about 14,600 professionals within and without, and have a total number of 11,900 qualified members from different fields like Lawyers, Criminologist, Security Experts, and Judicial officers, Accountants, economists, etc since its establishment in Nigeria in 2014. Right now we have about 1,200 registered students across the country. These students are expected to undergo qualifying examinations from stage one –stage three.
PROMINENT NIGERIAN AS MEMBERS:
Prominent Nigerians like Current Accountant General of the Federation, The current Attorney General of the Federation, Former Accountant General of the Federation Dr Naiyeju Kayode, Executive Chairman of Presidential Initiative for Continuous Audit (PICA), The GMD of NNPC, the Chairman of Financial and economic Crimes Commission (EFCC), the Chairman of House Committee on Financial Crimes and other prominent Honourable members here, the Chairman of Fiscal Responsibility Commission, Senior Advocates of Nigeria, eg Dr Alex Iziyon (SAN) Barr S.A Ameh (SAN) etc, Vice Chancellor Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Three times vice Chancellor Prof. Aminu Mikailu and his counterparts, about a total of twenty five Professors and Associate Professors, Permanent Secretaries, Heads of government agencies, Auditor Generals in the states, Professors from various Universities, Federal Law makers and in the states, Royal Fathers like the Emir of Niger State, etc are part of our members. The body has been involved in different professional activities since year 2014 till date. This body started her free trainings and even the first annual conference at EFCC Academy Karu Site, and have trained thousands of Nigerians including staff of the office of the Accountant General of the Federation and the office of the Secretary to Government of the Federation, to mention but few. This body is about signing an MOU with for collaboration with EFCC and others by Gods grace.
Equally of interest, is that this Body which this bill seeks to establish is already in existence in many anti-fraud leading countries such as Canada, America, Australia, India amongst others, thereby making it to have partners and associates to work with closely in areas of training, information sharing, exchange of ideas, programmes and note comparism. As we speak, members are preparing to go to USA for strategic alliance conference organized in collaboration with one of their partners, International Institute of Certified Forensic Investigation Professionals, USA. This body is also affiliated with the International Institute of Chartered Forensic Accountants, USA and Chartered Institute of Professional Financial Managers USA.
By the time the Institute become an ACT the following benefit comes;
- 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 investigation skills in order to put in place some advanced mechanisms to prevent frauds in their various organisations and not only investigating fraud after the deed has been done. Prevention is key here because fraud is better prevented. This organisation will primarily train all her members and also the staff in relevant agencies to be proactive rather than just being reactive in fraud cases.
- If we as a country must address the problem of fraud and corrupt practices, we must be seen to come up with better ways to assist our government and relevant agencies in preventing fraud because prevention is better than cure.
- Promote high professional standards amongst members of the Institute in a bid to wipe out cases of fraud of all kinds.
- Ensure efficient fraud prevention and detection through the training and regulation of competent manpower for gathering required forensic evidence for prosecution of erring persons and other perpetrators of fraud and other crimes;
- Promote multi-disciplinary collaboration between lawyers, criminologists, cyber security experts, judicial officers, court registrars, police detectives, prosecutors and several others involved in gathering forensic evidence required for prosecution of financial fraud and other white collar crimes;
- Promote capacity building in government ministries , departments and agencies through the training and re-training their agents and staff on forensic and investigative skills for forensic investigations in Nigeria
- Strengthen existing fraud prevention mechanisms and institutional frameworks with a view to bringing them up to global standards;
- Stimulate investor confidence in our fraud prevention system , and enhance transparency and accountability;
- It will help to strengthen the nation’s institutional frameworks thereby bringing us at par with other developed countries, in line with global standards and competitiveness.
- It will stimulate public confidence, and enhance transparency and accountability in our economic system and our national lives.
- It will also answer the question often posed by foreign investors as to the safety and guarantee of their direct foreign investments (DFIS) in our country.
- The Bill also seek to leverage on the skills already acquired by thousands trained forensic experts in Nigeria and Africa at large, to offer training and retraining of personnel in order to broaden and ensure active participation from various relevant organs of government.
- It will also popularize the art and use of science and technology of forensic for audit of financial statement and for fraud prevention by professionals just like as it is practiced in many developed countries.
- It will create employment opportunities especially for our teeming young graduates and youths who are roaming on the streets.
- It will also help to generate as well as conserve foreign exchange through its training programmes for Nigerians and foreigners, especially nationals of neighbouring African countries, who will want to be trained as professional forensic investigators. Note also, that in Nigeria at the moment is pioneering the training on the use of forensic investigation for prevention of fraud, corruption and cyber crimes in Nigeria.
- Besides, having a home based forensic and Investigative Professionals will save Nigerian government the cost of inviting Foreign Forensic Investigators for fraud investigation as it were in the case of NNPC missing Twenty billion Dollars ($20b) in the year 2014.
- It is going to be a win-win situation from which ever perspective it is viewed, but especially when looked at from the context of judicious application and utilization of scarce resources and a nation like ours that does not enjoy immunity from global recession that is also affecting other nations of the world with more technological advancement than ours.
In a nutshell, this bill when passed will help Nigeria to have skilled professionals to deepen the fraud prevention, detection and investigation thereby assist to preserve money in government treasury for infrastructural development that is far disappearing in our country today, through preventive measures. This will ultimately further the issue of fraud prevention and fight against corruption of the federal government which believes in strengthening institutions and processes of government. I have no doubt that a bill like this which seeks to enhance advanced knowledge on the use of science and technology for fraud prevention, detection and investigation will definitely get the overwhelming support of the general public.
There is a need to emphasize from the outset that it is the prerogative of the National Assembly pursuant to section 4(2) of the 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 like Chartered Institute of Forensic and Investigative Professionals of Nigeria (CIFIPN).
There is no conflict or whatsoever between this Bill and existing legislations, because forensic is an emerging trend in the whole world it was not there in the 70s, it came in late 80s in America, followed by Canada, etc. Therefore, this field is a unique field and virgin land in Nigeria as a nation.
This Bill has no financial implication on the treasury of the Federal Government since CIFIPN is self-sustaining based on the membership registration and practicing fee.