19 February 2013

Liberia: Economic Crimes

Mr. Theo Deconty Joseph, Managing Partner of Baker Tilly Liberia Limited has disclosed that the percentage of revenues loss to fraud in Liberia may be high.

He said economic crimes have been the factor associated with revenues loss in the country, though he did not provide statistics.

Mr. Joseph made the statement at the opening of a four-day corporate seminar organized by the Corporate Governance and Forensic Solutions in collaboration with Baker Tilly Liberia.

The seminar is intended to train business professionals and educators who are interested in the field of fraud examination, certified fraud examiners and other fraud specialists as well as forensic accountants, lawyers and law enforcement personnel, among others.

Mr. Joseph, a renowned Liberian Certified Fraud Examiner, explained that economic crimes have increased in Liberia over the years as a result of people embezzling funds from banks, companies, the selling of illegal drugs, money laundering and the swindling of other people's money by fraudulent means.

"Our nation is currently faced with the dual alarming trend in the occurrence of white collar crimes and seemingly record low in ethics," he stressed.

He narrated that the solutions to fight fraud and white collar crimes cannot be left only to regulators and law enforcement agencies, but all of those who are involved in business.

He said there was a need for those in business to create a culture of good corporate governance with a high degree of compliance.

He said financial fraud is showing no sign of reduction in Liberia due to few people choosing their careers with the goal of becoming liars, cheats and thieves.

Joseph noted that the advent of technology including computers and the internet is providing criminals with new frontiers to explore. "It is about time that business decision makers arm themselves with the latest investigative tools and techniques of fighting fraud," Joseph suggested.

Participants are expected to receive knowledge on tricks management, introduction to fraud examination and forensic accounting, discovering fraud in corporate financial statements, internal fraud auditing techniques and techniques for tracing hidden assets, among others.

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