19 January 2014

Tanzania: Fraud Examiners Pledge Hand-in-Glove Linkage in Fighting Fraud, Graft

TANZANIA has allowed formation of a Chapter affiliated to an international non-governmental organisation (NGO) going by the name, Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE).

The chapter was registered in May 2012 and held it first meeting in Dar es Salaam in October at which it drew attention of the media to publicise its existence and aim of fighting fraud whose graph is spiraling up in Tanzania.

The chapter held its first two day Annual conference last November in Arusha where 30 members, or call them Fraud Examiners, declared their "hand-in-glove" linkage to crime fighting state agencies.

Formation of the Tanzania Chapter of the worldwide Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE) should imbue its members with the needed Professional skills to enable them fight fraud squarely in the country.

This is the pithy message delivered by the Controller and Auditor General (CAG), Mr Ludovick Utouh, when opening the Second Conference of the ACFE on 27th November, 2013 in Arusha. "Huge, sums of monies are lost due to fraudulent activities across the region and Tanzania in particular.

The lost resources would otherwise have been made available for the betterment of the country at large. "It is the expectations of everyone, here that the ACFE will continue to instill skills and regulate its members to professionally deal will the fraudulent activities in the country" he said.

Speaking after an introductory speech by the Chapter's President, Mr Philip Urio, Mr Utouh said the ACFE Chapter in Tanzania should not be left to fight this international crime alone. "State agencies such as the PCCB, Police, should cooperate with the ACFE in this very war.

The media, which is a strong open actor and watchdog, is also critical in uncovering fraud and corruption. This is so because news on fraud is immediately acted upon not only by the state but also by the public.

Thus effective media participation in the fight against fraud is extremely valuable in providing information and exposing vulnerable fraud indicator to the public" he said.

He emphasised that this professional association cannot spread its activities without using the news media, given its central role of exposing corrupt people in both the public and private sectors.

"I am confident that if you, members of the chapter, are very ethical, professional, patriotic enough and work as a team, fraud in this country will be alleviated.

"Therefore, it is important to know that as you plan to fight this evil, its perpetrators are also planning to frustrate your efforts. It is not enough to have Certificates and capacities in the fight against fraud.

What matters is the ability to transform them into capacities and use them in the real war against fraud," the CAG pointed out. President of Tanzania Chapter, said the chapter was registered under the Companies Act Cap 212RF 2002 of the United republic of Tanzania.

The Chapter is being managed by Professionals from various fields of learning and walks of life but with a common bond of fighting fraud which is the twin brother of corruption. One of the major roles of the chapter which has over 30 members, is to raise awareness of the general public on fraud and financial crimes through delivery of civic education.

"Fraud is a universal challenge and will continue to be a major area of serious concern in both the public and private sectors", Mr Urio said, adding: "Fraud fighting professionals need to set upto- date solutions that can be quickly understood and implemented.

It is my hope that after this conference we shall have known each other so that we work together as one family in the fight against fraud", he concluded. Closing the conference, which was held at the Palace Hotel, Arusha, the Internal Auditor General, Mr Ntunga described the conference as "successful."

It drew participants from the public including government and the private sectors. "I know firsthand how tirelessly you have worked to get to this point. Two days discussions was not an easy task. But you have succeeded. I think you will agree with me that this conference has provided a lot of food for thought.

In closing this conference I would like to raise a few questions and offer some observations," Mr Ntunga said. One of the questions was "why do the ACFE conduct programmes such as this?" Or "Why is it important that we participate in opportunities to gather and confer with our regulatory and law enforcement organs in anti-fraud in the country?"

He said fraud is globalised and highly interconnected, it occurs whether systems are predominantly public or private, well funded or poorly funded and technically simple or sophisticated. No country is exempted. Fraud affects every kind of system.

Fraud activities can take place in any area of service delivery. Motives of fraudsters are universal. "Normally, we learn from everywhere, you will never stop learning, it could be in a class, seminar, and workshop or in a conference like this," he said.

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