WHY WE DO IT
The advent of globalization and technological advancement in the global space has not left us without its attendant ills, which has cumulated in wide spread sophisticated tech based concealed crimes in our systems. Nigeria in no small measure share some of these ills with the global world.
As s distasteful as it is may sound, 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 especially those in public organisations.
It is to reiterated that 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 occasioned either by lack of evidence or half-baked evidence with no in-depth forensic analysis.
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. Our system requires an advanced knowledge of the use of sophisticated mechanisms and technological tools for prevention, detection and investigation of fraud. To this end there is a need for a paradigm shift to the new anti-fraud mechanisms for prevention of fraudulent occurrences, hence the need for the establishment of a legally empowered body as Forensic Investigative Profession in Nigeria, there cannot be a better time than now.
It is beyond argument that the world is evolving, it is therefore imperative that in coming to terms with the changes we must be able to address some of the challenges especially those related to technologically base fraud. Thankfully, Forensic and Investigative Professionals of Nigeria has come to fill that vacuum.
Notwithstanding the cancerous nature of the technologically aided fraud, Nigerian laws appear 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.
Our nation, Nigeria currently spend huge sums of money humongous foreign exchange to retain the services of expatriate forensic and investigative professionals to carryout assignments that could have been effectively better performed by locally trained manpower.
You agree with me that apart from the huge revenue lost by public and private organizations due to lack of effective anti-fraud mechanisms, this unfortunate development has profound security implication on the nation and must be reversed forthwith and there can be no better way than ensuring that Chartered Institute of Forensic and Investigative Professionals in Nigeria becomes a body established through an Act of the National Assembly.
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 updated 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 economy.
The Chartered Institute of Forensic and Investigative Professionals seeks 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 body 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 economy, using international best practices and skills in the discharge of their function
Going by its objectives therefore, the Chartered Institute of Forensic and Investigative Professionals in Nigeria 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, one the uniqueness of the Chartered Institute of Forensic and Investigative Professionals in Nigeria is that it has created wider coverage to accommodate and make provision for the training of professionals from other disciplines like Lawyers, Criminologists, and Security Experts, Judicial Officers, Court Registrars, 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.
Chartered Institute of Forensic and Investigative Professionals in Nigeria even at its embryo stage has been actively involved in 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. Right now we have about 1,200 registered students across the country. These students are expected to undergo qualifying examinations from stage one to stage three.
To underscore high level of support already enjoyed by the Chartered Institute of Forensic and Investigative Professionals in Nigeria, we already have in our fold Prominent Nigerians like Accountant General of the Federation, Attorney General of the Federation, Executive Chairman of Presidential Initiative for Continuous Audit (PICA), 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, Vice Chancellor Nnamdi Azikiwe University and his counterparts, Permanent Secretaries, Heads of government agencies, Auditor Generals in the states, Professors from various Universities, Federal Law makers and in the states, to mention only but a few. Chartered Institute of Forensic and Investigative Professionals in Nigeria is not a group of kindergartens; is a body with seasoned professionals.
We must reiterate the point that similar bodies as Chartered Institute of Forensic and Investigative Professionals in Nigeria are already in existence in many anti-fraud leading countries such as Canada, America, Australia, India amongst others, these has afforded greater opportunities as we are already collaborating with these countries in areas of partnership training, information sharing, exchange of ideas, associate 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.
By the time the Institute is backed by an Act of National Assembly:
- 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 certification on the use of science and technology of forensic and investigation skills in order to put in place some advanced mechanism 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 staff in various government agencies and parastatals to be proactive rather than just being reactive to 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, as the saying goes; prevention is better than cure.
- 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 economy 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 Body 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 Nigeria at the moment is pioneering the training on the use of forensic investigation for prevention of fraud, corruption and cybercrimes 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 conclusion, the need for the enactment of Chartered Institute of Forensic and Investigative Professionals in Nigeria cannot be overemphasised, this is primarily because it 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 and indeed all the other tiers of government, which believes in strengthening institutions and processes of government.
We have no doubt in our minds that the enactment of Chartered Institute of Forensic and Investigative Professionals in Nigeria will enhance advanced knowledge on the use of science and technology for fraud prevention, detection and investigation and we urge all relevant bodies especially the National Assembly and the Executive to give attention for its expeditious passage and consequent assent.
May we further note with emphasis that Chartered Institute of Forensic and Investigative Professionals in Nigeria is a private–driven Organization responsible for its funding at no cost to government. It is therefore not going to burden the government coffers as the body is self-sustaining safe for the constitutional role the government is required to perform one of which is to give it a legal backing by way of an enactment.
We therefore, urge all well-meaning Nigerians in all spheres of endeavors to support this noble cause of entrenching an institutional framework that is targeted at fighting corruption at its conception stage for the robust benefits of all Nigerians.