Fraudulent practices in Nigeria banks have led to increased losses and collapse of commercial banks, hence the need to use forensic approach services to detect and prevent such fraudulent activities. The banking industry is a very important institution with many internal controls in order to overcome the fraudulent practices. The objective of this study was to examine the usefulness of forensic approach to bank Auditing and investigation in Nigeria , the most prevalent type of fraud and to establish the major areas of application of forensic accounting services. The data collection instrument preferred for the study was a questionnaire. Findings from the study saw that fraud detection and prevention increased when forensic accounting services was employed. The sample size of 179 were used and was chosen among the 9 commercial banks in Nigeria using Bowleys proportional allocation formula Data were analyzed using table and simple percentage, hypothesis were tested using chi-square statistics ( x2). The study findings indicated that the application of forensic approach services by banks led to increased fraud prevention in the commercial banks and the highest application was on enhancing quality of financial reporting.
1.1 Background to the Study
Considerable scandals that have been experienced in recent years in commercial banks in Nigeria have reduced the confidence to financial and non financial statements leading to improved regulations governing both the banking sector and the accounting practices as well. Due to this, forensic accountancy as a profession with its services as litigation support, consultancy expert testimony and fraud auditing (investigation accountancy) filled a large gap in prevention of such frauds. History has shown that despite the presence of Sarbanese-oxley legislation of 2002 in the United States and the publishing Enron and other big companies in US, employees have continued to manipulate even the best internal controls available for their own personal gain. These scandals have financially devastated employees and investors and severely harmed the reputation of auditors, analysts and corporate managers. It is in realization of this that various initiatives have been put into place to enhance and enforce the applicability of forensic accounting services by use of the right people, tools, techniques and insight to prevent and detect fraudulent activities and to ensure that the applicability of such services are effective. Modern Information technology has even increased the pace of electronically manipulated frauds in the complex business environment. According to Fraud Survey of KPMG (2008), the total value of fraud reported was $301.1 million with an average value for each organization of $1.5million in Australia and New Zealand of 420 organizations surveyed which represented 20% of the 2018 surveys distributed. In May 2011 in a response to spiraling fraud cases, the CBN demanded an audit of automated payment processing systems operated by commercial banks after their investigations showed the rising cases of fraud were in fact being initiated by bank employees at the point of entry of information into their internal payment systems. Due to this, this study focused on the impact of forensic accounting services on fraudulent practices in the commercial banks in Nigeria. Theoretical prediction indicated that, the application of Forensic Accounting Services helps to prevent fraud occurrence in the commercial banks. According to Gollwitzer (1990), the mindset of a fraud specialist will lead them to search for pertinent information pertaining to frauds. When people are much aware that their fraudulent activities were to be disclosed by the application of forensic accounting services, they feared to commit fraud in the banking industry.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
The failure of statutory audit to prevent and reduce misappropriation of fund and an increase in corporate crimes have put pressure on the professional accountant and legal practitioner to find a better way of exposing this financial crimes. The problem is incessant financial crimes in the corporate world require regular audit. Forensic auditing should be responsible for digging out frauds committed through application of auditing, accounting, and investigative techniques in order to come up with sufficient evidence that can be used in court proceedings (Albrecht et al, 2001). Although a number of studies had been done on the concept of forensic accounting services, none of them had focused on the impact of forensic accounting services on fraud prevention and detection specifically in commercial banks in Nigeria hence making this study justifiable as it was to address if such applications had an impact on prevention and detection of fraud in our financial institutions.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
The general objective of this study is to appraise the usefulness of forensic auditing in preventing and detecting corporate fraud in Nigeria. The specific objectives of this study are as follows;
1) To ascertain how forensic audit has been a useful tool in prevention and detection of fraud in our financial institutions.
2) To determine the most prevalent type of fraud among commercial banks in Nigeria.
3) To determine the effect of forensic accounting on bank audit in Nigeria.
1.4 Research Questions
In order to achieve the objective of the study, the following research hypothesis have been raised, providing answers to them will help achieve the aim of this work. These questions includes;
- Why forensic audit is considered a useful tool in prevention and detection of fraud in financial institution?
- Is there any relationship between the most prevalent type of fraud among commercial banks in Nigeria?
- What is the effect of forensic accounting on bank audit?
1.5 Statement of Hypotheses
The statement of hypothesis provides a measurement criterion that keeps the researcher on the main line of the study (Osuala 1982:44). In order words, it is “a speculation of the way the variables of study behaves” it is a guide method to be used in their analysis. The needs for such guides rise to the following hypothesis;
Ho1: There is no significant need to employ a forensic auditor in a financial institution.
Ho2: There is no relationship between the type of fraud among commercial banks in Nigeria.
Ho3: Application of forensic accounting in banks has no significant impact on bank audit.
1.6 Significance of the Study
This study will be of great importance to the government since it will help to determine the actual income of every companies and banks so as to pay the exact tax. It will also give them positive insight on how to fight this evil menace called corruption in the country. It will also be of great benefit to the corporate world as the effective work of forensic auditors will help prevent, reduce and detect fraud and other corporate crimes in an organization it will help the investors and depositors to know the financial position of the institution they are investing in if it is going to be a profit venture or not, and also to schools and students, it will serve as a reference point for future researchers who will want to research more on the topic.
1.7 Scope of the Study
This study was designed to discuss the usefulness of forensic audit in preventing and detecting fraud in an organization” the research will be restricted to the nine selected banks in Enugu state.
1.8 Limitation of the Study
I was confronted with some problems when carrying out this research. These problems include.
- Uncorporative attitude of some of my respondents:- some of the respondents refused to fill my questionnaires and some refuse to return the filled ones.
- Financial problems:- the success of my research work depends on the finance availability and this affected the researcher because the finance at his disposal was not sufficient to carry out the research effectively.
1.9 Definition of Terms.
FORENSIC ACCOUNTING:- It is a specially practice area of accounting that describes engagements that results from anticipated disputes or litigations. FORENSIC: According to oxford advance learners dictionary means connected with or used in the court to law.
INVESTIGATIVE ACCOUNTING: This is the reviews of the factual situation of a company and suggest possible course of action.
WHITE-COLLAR CRIME:- Edwin Sutherland in 1939 defines it as “a crime committed by a person of respectability and high social status in the course of his occupation. It is a financially motivated nonviolent crime committed for illegal monetary gain.
FRAUD: This is a type of criminal activity, defined as abuse of position, or false representation or prejudicing someone’s rights for personal gain.
FORENSIC AUDITING: This is an examination and evaluation of a firm’s or individual financial information for use as evidence in court. A forensic audit can be conducted in order to prosecute a party for fraud, embezzlement or other financial claims.
BANK AUDITING: This is an examination of the accounts and be conducted by internal and external agency known as the auditors
FINANCIAL INSTITUTION: Financial institution is an establishment that conducts financial transactions such as investment, loans and deposits. Almost everyone deals with financial institution on a regular basis.