Forensic, investigative auditors caution ICAN against misleading public on CIFIA Bill

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From left: Council Member, Charted Institute of Forensic and Investigative Auditors (CIFIA), Dr Jerome Agi; Deputy Vice President of CIFIA, Prof. Bayero Mohammed; protem President of CIFIA, Dr Victoria Enape; and former Vice Chancellor, Usman Danfodio University in Sokoto, Prof. Aminu Mikailu, during a Conference on the importance of CIFIA Bill as passed by the National Assembly, in Abuja on Wednesday (18/7/18).
03862/18/7/2018/Hogan Bassey/NAN

The Chartered Institute of Forensic and Investigative Auditors (CIFIA) has cautioned the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) against misleading the public on the essence of the CIFIA Bill recently passed by the Senate.

CIFIA’s protem President, Dr Victoria Enape, who briefed newsmen on Wednesday in Abuja, described ICAN’s claims on duplication of functions as baseless.

ICAN had recently opposed the CIFIA Bill 2018 which was passed by the Senate, but waiting for concurrence by House of Representatives.

Enape, however, said she would have ignored the parochial sentiments raised by ICAN but for the sake of the public being deceived.

She said that there was no conflict whatsoever between the functions of the proposed CIFIA and those of ICAN established under the ICAN Act of 1965.

“ICAN’s claim of already carrying out the functions of the proposed CIFIA is baseless because if that is true, then one may be compelled to ask why Nigeria still relies heavily on expatriate forensic and investigative auditors?

“For ICAN to issue forensic accounting certificate amounts to illegality because there is no forensic in ICAN Act and this is verifiable.

“We wish to state that CIFIA was conceived, principally to address a fundamental challenge in the accounting profession.

“Contrary to insinuations in some quarters that the proposed CIFIA would bring extra financial burden on the public funds, CIFIA is self-sustaining.’’

Enape said it was pertinent to state that after the introduction of the Bill in the Senate Chamber, it was subjected to all the legislative procedural processes by passing through the First Reading, Second Reading and Third Reading respectively.

She said it was evidently clear that the process that led to the passage of the Bill was thorough and painstaking.

Enape regretted that instead of supporting CIFIA, ICAN was trying to ensure that the Bill was not passed into law for selfish reasons.

“The Senate, as a matter of fact should be commended for taking this legislative bold step which is aimed at addressing a major challenge in the country.

“The reaction of ICAN, clearly demonstrates their lack of understanding or ineptitude of the lawmaking processes.

“They are trying to cast aspersion on a sacred institution of the Senate, which is made up of professionals that are well-equipped and have clear understanding.

“Before going public, it is expected that somebody in the position of an exalted office of the president of the institute should have gotten his information right.

“We are saying this because the issues raised in ICAN’s press briefing concerning the Bill were not part of the version of the  Bill that was passed by the Senate,’’ she said.

According to her, CIFIA is made up of anti-fraud professionals, whose academic background cuts across accounting, law, criminology, cyber security, banking, economics, and police detectives.

She said that Forensic auditing integrated investigative skills in order to resolve or expose concealed or suspected financial fraud.

On his part, Prof. Aminu Mikailu, former two times Vice Chancellor, Usman Danfodiyo University, Sokoto  and Kaduna State University, wondered why ICAN was opposed to the Bill.

“I don’t know what the problem of ICAN is, CIFIA and ICAN are two different bodies.

“Is it a gender problem? ICAN is just for accounting but forensic auditors deal with auditing forensically digitally. It is a global trend,’’ he said.

Contributing, Binta Yusuf, from the Supreme Court, said that in the 21st Century, every organisation that wanted to critisise the forensic auditors should first of all go online and search for information on different responsibilities of forensic work and Institute of Chartered accountants.

She said that forensic auditors work was all encompassing and multidisciplinary.

“I believe any professional body that has any issue with the passage of the bill should go and make further research from Google because forensic audit job is a global professional body and there is no rivalry,’’ she said.

The CIFIA Bill was jointly sponsored by Senators Ahmad Lawan and Andy Uba.

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