Different Government stakeholders have expressed support for the proposed Chartered Institute of Forensics and Certified Fraud Examiners of Nigeria.
They lauded the important role the Institute would eventually play if the Bill for an Act to establish it got passed into law at the National Assembly.
Speaking at the Public Hearing organised on the Bill at the National Assembly, Abuja, representatives of various public and private- sector organisations, including the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the Association of National Accountants of Nigeria (ANAN) the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) as well as the Nigeria Deposit and Insurance Corporation (NDIC), expressed support for the Bill seeking to establish the Institute to deal with various crimes, offences and all manner of professional and social misgivings requiring in-depth investigations to turn in trusted results.
The above-mentioned organisations took time to address some of what they considered grey areas in the Sections of the proposed Act that,in their separate opinions,require changes.
It was, however, a different scenario for the representative of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria ( ICAN), Dr Osawate Oda, a First Deputy President of the Institute, who maintained that what the Bill on the Chartered Institute of Forensics and Certified Fraud Examiners was seeking to achieve was already being practised by their own Organisation and other Agencies of Government like the Police, the EFCC, the ICPC and other such professional bodies whose corporate mandates and roles, he believed, would be threatened if the Bill in question was passed into law. His position, that ANAN was alongside ICAN,opposing the passage of the Forensic Institute Bill, was , however,refuted by the ANAN Registrar/ CEO in the presentation that came after that of the ICAN representative.
While urging stakeholders to take a deeper look at the Bill seeking to give a legal backbone to the Institute, which has been in operation in the last ten years through which it has made an appreciable impact for outstanding professionalism and diversity of specialisations, its Second Deputy President, Professor Suleiman Aruwa, said the nation would lose so much if it failed to harness the benefits of the multi- disciplinary outlook of the Institute. He expressed surprise that ICAN ,which only has Accountancy as its main competency and pre- occupation, would choose to challenge the right to existence of a body that has chosen to carry out the application of forensics on diverse areas of endeavour.
Also speaking in support of the proposed Institute, its President and Chairman of Council, Iliyasu Gashinbaki,called for stakeholders’ support for the Bill,which he said had gone past the First and Second Readings in the House of Representatives before getting to the crucial stage of Public Hearing. He told the audience that the multi-disciplinary outlook of the Institute was one that offered the nation an alternative to travelling to other sister African countries and elsewhere and spending scarce resources to source solutions on forensic challenges in different fields.
Earlier in his remarks, the sponsor of the Bill, Rt.Hon.Yusuf Buba Yakub said the Bill for which the Public Hearing was being held was one that “answers the clarion call on each of us to be a veritable gate- keeper and whistle-blower in order to preserve our nation beyond the greed, incompetence, slothfulness, negligence of duty and, of course, the usual mischief of some of our fellow Nigerians, whose failures, often resulting from mischief or poor approach to official duties and tasks, leave the nation at the mercy of their ineptitude or calculated wrong- doing”.
Continuing the Gombi/ Hong, Adamawa State Rep, who is also the Chairman, House Committee on Foreign Affairs, added:
“This Bill seeks to, therefore, add serious impetus to the manner in which we fight the social malaise of our society, like crime in its entire ramifications, including official malfeasance, sleaze, Internet frauds and the like. Many things would change in society if people knew that no matter how smart they feel they can be in their doings,the torch of forensics on their acts will, eventually,give them away”, the lawmaker observed.
While declaring that the proposed Institute when established would constitute no new burden on Government,Buba informed that its activities would be run and driven by contributions and subscriptions of its members and benefactors. He also added that, apart from providing for the regulation and control of the Institute’s membership, the Bill when passed into law would also promote the professional practice of fraud examination and forensics in Nigeria and complement, in that regard, the efforts of the nation’s law- enforcement/ prosecuting Agencies such as the EFCC, ICPC, NFIU and the Police through capacity-building and enhancement initiatives for public and private-sector professionals in the areas of fraud examination, fraud investigation as well as forensics, which will, in turn, save the Nigerian economy over Five Trillion Naira annually in funds arising from illicit financial flows.
While declaring open the Public Hearing, Speaker, House of Representatives, Rt.Hon.Femi Gbajabiamala, who was represented by the Deputy Leader of the House, Hon. Comrade Peter Akpatason, called for all stakeholders participation to realise the goal of checking fraud in Nigeria in line with the mindset of the Buhari Administration and the spirit of the Speaker’s Legislative Agenda, which he said, he had set for the House when he assumed the position of Speaker in the current Legislative dispensation.