Monrovia- As Liberia continues to face challenges with the problem of fighting corruption and other fraud related issues, the Liberia Chapter–Association of Certified Fraud Examiners has embarked on a strong effort to have specialized expertise in fighting different types of fraud in order to have qualified people with diverse skills in combating fraud.
The two-week training held at the Internal Audit Agency (IAA) in Congo Town brought together 30 CFEs from various anti-graft institutions in the public sector, including the Internal Audit Agency (IAA), the General Auditing Commission (GAC), the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA), and the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC).
The training targeted internal and external auditors, investigators, fraud practitioners, risk managers, Lawyers, Regulatory Compliance staff, amongst others.
The two-week Data Analytics training was sponsored by the Legal Professional Anti-Corruption Program (LPAC) in Liberiasupported by USAID. Key objectives of the training were:Conceptualize data analytics that can be used to detect fraud; Understand Fundamentals for Fraud and Corruption Risk Management; Know different tools to perform data analytics, Comprehend how to apply full data analytics process and methods; Be able to recognize Red Flags of fraud in data analytics; practice Data Analytics tests to detect fraud; and Analyze non-numeric data, such as text and timelines for signs of fraud.
At the end of the training, USAID Senior Advisor, Scott Collins told the participants that there is no investigation without evidence particularly in the area of corruption.
“This training is meant to make the work of auditors and investigators relevant. To provide you important skills you can use in your work. We are hoping that we can work together to form less formal focus groups. We want to also work to identify software to aid your work”, he said.
Mr. Collins expressed thanks to all who attended the training and said he hopes the knowledge acquired will help auditors and investigators in the performance of their work.
IAA Director General, Emmanuel B. Nyeswa also making remarks thanked the LPAC for organizing the training.
He said the IAA attaches importance to the training which led to the decision to host the training and also have many auditors from the IAA attend the training.
Mr. Nyeswa offered the facilities of the IAA to be used to host any equipment that will be provided to aid the work of auditors and investigators.
For his part, Atty. Augustine G. Chenoway challenged the CFEs that the training is meant to start the process of building specialized skills amongst CFEs and enhancing their capacity.
He admonished participants to go out and start to share the knowledge acquired with other CFEs who did not have the opportunity to attend the training.
“Go out and teach others what we have learnt here over the last two weeks. This is not just a mere training, it is the start of having people with specialized skills so that we can combat fraud at all levels”, he said.
To jumpstart the process, the head of ACFE Liberia Chapterorganized a team from each of the anti-graft institutions in the public sector to continue similar training within a core group andas well serve as liaisons at their various places of work to share the knowledge acquired with others.
He indicated that he hopes the training will add value to the work of CFEs.
He expressed thanks to LPAC for sponsoring the training and IAA for providing the facility.
Key objectives of the training were to Conceptualize data analytics that can be used to detect fraud; Understand Fundamentals for Fraud and Corruption Risk Management; Know different tools to perform data analytics, Comprehend how to apply full data analytics process and methods; Be able to recognize Red Flags of fraud in data analytics; practice Data Analytics tests to detect fraud; and Analyze non-numeric data, such as text and timelines for signs of fraud.
During the start of the intensive Data Analytics training about two weeks ago, Atty. Chenoway said that the discussion of the training started after an engagement with the Senior Anti-Corruption Advisor of LPAC, Mr. Scott Collins during the 2018 CPE conference that was held at the Liberia Chamber of Commerce.
The discussion, he said was further elevated during an anti-money laundering training that was being conducted by the LACC at the Bella Casa Hotel in Sinkor.
During the discussion, he highlighted several important points to Scott which were not limited to raising the challenges currently being faced by auditors in analyzing data and including the usage of advance excel techniques and other analytics software.
He however encouraged participants to be focused and they should consider the training seriously to further enhance their capacity in forensic data analytics to continuously identify the warning signs and red flags that revealed evidence of fraud and corruption.
For his part, the Director General of the Internal Audit Agency, Mr. Nyeswa challenged participants to take advantage of the training opportunity in order to enhance their analytical skills.
Mr. Nyeswa, who is also a Certified Fraud Examiner, used the occasion to reaffirm the IAA’s commitment to capacity building as well as the availability of its training facilities free of charge whenever the need arises for the full development of audit professionals.
The IAA boss further emphasized the importance of technology in the performance of audit duties, stressing that audit professionals cannot perform their duties effectively in the absence of adequate technology.
In addition, the Chief of Party of the USAID’s Legal Professional Anti-Corruption Program (LPAC) Mr. John Furnari described the training as part of LPAC’s current activities aimed at supporting partner institutions to enable them operate sustainably and more efficiently.
Mr. Furnari challenged participants to embrace the training with utmost seriousness in order to improve their individual capacities, thereby strengthening the performance level of the various anti-graft institutions towards preventing, investigating and prosecuting corruption and its related activities.
According to the ACFE 2018 Report to the Nations, over US$3.7 trillion is lost to fraud globally each year. In so doing, the increasing demand for capacity building in Forensic Data Analytics to prevent, deter and investigate fraud cannot be over emphasized, whether within the public or private sector.
It is believed that organizations that undertake proactive data analysis techniques experience frauds that are 52% less costly and 58% shorter than organizations that do not monitor and analyze data for signs for fraud. Therefore, Forensic Data Analytics as process of transforming input data into useful information through proper analytic tools is relevant to all organization. Hence, the training is essential and focuses on data analysis techniques, fraud detection techniques, and collection of evidence which can stand as evidence in court of law.
Participants were provided advanced certificates after the training.