Fraudulent practices among Nigerians are major challenges facing the development of the country. The federal government has been making several efforts in tackling these dreadful menaces by setting up many anti corruption institutions to reduce cases of white collar crimes and other activity of financial and economic crimes but the efforts seemed not to have yielded the desire results or have not been effective. No doubt, financial crimes have affected individuals and corporate organizations negatively. This has put accounting professional bodies into a new perception and paradigm that go beyond statutory audit. The objective of this study focus on forensic investigation , evidence from Nigeria, primary sources of data were appropriately used. 20 questionnaires were administered. The Researchers Use SPSS 21 to test the hypothesis to determine the F-value. The findings are that Forensic investigation significantly influences fraud detection and control, also, that there is significant difference between the duties of professional Forensic Accountants and that of traditional External Auditors. The researchers recommended that trained experts like the Professional Forensic Accountants should conduct the investigation, where there is evidence of fraud, appropriate disciplinary action in accordance with the Provision of rules should be implemented, and the restructuring of corruption agencies by the government for better performance. These agencies should have the will power and courage to perform optimally. The professional accountancy bodies in Nigeria should ensure that forensic accountants are trained with modern skills of forensic investigation procedures, the financial reporting council should ensure harmonization and unification of the conflicting regulatory codes that will guarantee best standards and regulations are established for best practice and service delivery.
Sutherland, 1949 cited in Michael, (2004) defined White collar Crime as crime committed by a person of respectable and high social status in the course of his occupation. He noted that in his time, less than 2 percent of the persons committed to Prison in a year belong to the upper class. He tried to establish a relationship between money, social status, and the likelihood of going to jail for a white collar crime with a more visible, typical crime. He tried to separate and define the difference between the blue collar street crimes like burglary, theft, rape, arson and vandalism which are often blamed on psychological, associational and structural factor with white collar crimes committed by criminals who are opportunists who overtime learn that they can take advantage of their circumstances to accumulate financial gains. These criminals are educated, intelligent, affluent individuals who can get a job which allows them unfettered and unmonitored access to often large sum of money. White collar crimes include such illegal acts which are characterize by deceit, concealment, or violation of trust and which are not dependent on the application of physical force or violence. This study will be anchored on white collar crime.
Background to the Study
The widespread frauds in modern organizations have made traditional auditing and investigation inefficient and ineffective in the detection and prevention of the various types of frauds confronting businesses world-wide. (Onuorah and Appah, 2012) The incidence of fraud continues to increase across private and public sector organizations and across nations. Fraud is a universal problem as no nations is resistant, although developing countries and their various states suffer the most pain. Today; modern organized financial crimes have appeared. Financial crimes such as employee theft, payroll frauds, fraudulent billing systems, management theft, corporate frauds, insurance fraud, embezzlement, bribery, bankruptcy, security fraud (EFCC, 2004), among others, have taken the centre stage in the scheme of things; and on the scale of private, public and governmental preference. Financial crimes today have grown wild, and the emergence of computer software coupled with the advent of internet facilities has compounded the problem of financial crimes. Besides, the detection or minimization of these crimes are made more difficult and committing these crimes much easier. (Izedonmi, and Ibadin, 2012). All these, no doubt, remain outside the ambit of the statutory auditor to report on except he is placed on inquiry. The statutory auditor is not primarily bound to detect fraud and errors. His responsibility is defined by Sec. 359 (CAMA, 2004) and the relevant auditing standards. (Uwojori and Asaolu, 2009) added that quite unfortunately, is the inability of the statutory auditor constrained by the relevant statutes and standards, to deal with financial crimes. Okunbor and Obaretin (2010) reported that the spates of corporate failures have placed greater responsibility and function on accountants to equip themselves with the skills to identify and act upon indicators of poor corporate governance, mismanagement, frauds and other wrong doings. It has become imperative for accountants at all levels to have the requisite skills and knowledge for identifying, discovering as well as preserving the evidence of all forms of irregularities and fraud. Therefore, fraud requires more sophisticated approach from preventative to detection. One of the modern approaches that can be used from the prevention to detection is called forensic investigation.
Forensic investigation is a rapidly growing field of accounting that describes the engagement that results from actual or anticipated dispute or litigations. (Okoye and Gbegi, 2013) concur that “Forensic” means “suitable for use in a court of law”, and it is to that standard that Forensic Accountants generally work. Forensic investigation is an investigative style of accounting used to determine whether an individual or an organization has engaged in any illegal financial activities.
Professional Forensic Accountant may work for government or public accounting firm. Although, forensic investigation has been in existence for several decades, it has evolved over time to include several types of financial information scrutiny. Forensic investigation can, therefore, be seen as an aspect of accounting that is suitable for legal review and offering the highest level of assurance (Apostolou, Hassell & Webber, 2000). Also, forensic investigation encompasses three major areas, investigation, dispute resolution and litigation support. Manning (2002) defines it as the combination of accounting, auditing and investigative skills to standard by the courts to address issues in dispute in the context of civil and criminal litigation. Ojaide (2000) noted that there is an alarming increase in the number of fraud and fraudulent activities in Nigeria, requiring the visibility of forensic investigation services. Also the recent happening in the forensic audit of the oil sector where the present government is demanding for another forensic audit exercises to be carried out after a Nigerian audit firm has presented a report to the authority. In the light of the above this study therefore looks into the relevance of forensic investigation and fraud management in the effective reduction of fraudulent practices in Nigeria.
Statement of the Problem
In recent times, series of fraud have been committed both in the public sector and private sector of the economy. These in no doubt are perpetrated under the supervision of the internal auditors of the organization. Ojaide (2000) added that there is an alarming increase in the number of fraud and fraudulent activities in Nigeria emphasizing the visibility of forensic investigation services. Okoye and Akamobi (2009) Owojori and Asaolu (2009), Izedomin and Mgbame ( 2011), Kasum (2009) have all acknowledge in their separate works, the increasing incidence of fraud and fraudulent activities in Nigeria and these studies have argued that in Nigeria, financial fraud is gradually becoming a normal way of life. (Modugu and Anyaduba 2013) submitted that financial irregularities have becomes the specialty of both private and public sector in Nigeria as individual perpetrates fraud and corrupt practice according to the capacity of their office. Consequently, there is a general expectation that forensic investigation may be able to stem the tide of financial malfeasance witnessed in most sectors of the Nigerian economy. However, there has not been adequate emphasis, especially survey evidence on how forensic investigation can help curtail white collar crimes beyond the several unreliable views that abound. Consequently, the study fills this gap of forensic investigation evident from Nigeria.
Objective of the study
The general objective of this study is to assess the influence of forensic investigation in the fight against white collar crime in Nigeria
The specific objectives of this study include:
- To examine whether effective forensic investigation significantly influence white collar crime reduction control.
- To examine if there is significance difference between professional Forensic Accountants and traditional External Auditors.
The study has the following research questions;
- What is the extent of influence that effectiveness of forensic investigation has on white collar crime control and management
- How significantly different are the duties of professional Forensic Accountants and traditional External Auditors.
Statement of Hypothesis
H01: Forensic investigation does not significantly influence white collar crime control and management.
H02: There is no significant difference between the duties of professional Accountants and that of traditional External Auditors