By Ignatius Okorocha
Accountants and auditors from different bodies yesterday disagreed with the Senate on the proposed Bill for the Chartered Institute of Forensic and Investigative Auditors in Nigeria; and Bill for Chartered Institute of Forensic Accountants of Nigeria, respectively.
This was as the Federal Government cautioned the Uper House against enacting laws capable of bastardising professionalism in the country.
The Senate Committee on Establishment and Public Service chaired by Senator Emmanuel Paulker (PDP Bayelsa Central) organised a public hearing on four bills: Chartered Institute of Forensic and Investigative Auditors in Nigeria; Chartered Institute of Finance and Control in Nigeria; Chartered Institute of Forensic Accountants of Nigeria, and the Institute of Mediators and Conciliators Bill in Abuja.
The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) kicked against the bills, saying that heir functions and responsibilities were already contained in the 1965 Act that established the Institute and would therefore amount to duplication of functions.
ICAN President, Mr. Ismaila Zakari, said that the Institute had in 2009 established seven faculties to provide training for members in their areas of specialisation, adding that they also provide specialist certification courses and issue certificates to qualified members as evidence of expertise and authority to practise.
a�?The forensic accounting curriculum is carefully drawn to ensure that to be a forensic accountant, one must necessarily be a qualified chartered accountant, be certain of technical competence and preserved professional integrity.
a�?From the foregoing, forensic accounting is adequately covered within the scope of the training that ICAN provides and therefore, the quest for a separate Institute for just forensic accounting is totally uncalled for,a�? Zakari stressed.
Similarly, the Nigerian Law Reform Commission (NLRC) kicked against the new professional bodies, saying before a person starts practising audit and other accounting related areas; he/she must first qualify as a chartered accountant.
A commissioner in the commission, Prof. Jummai Audi, said that prior to qualification as a chartered accountant, the person would have followed a detailed curriculum of Forensic and Investigative Audit.
The Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, said that the relevance of forensic accounting globally could not be over-stressed, noting that many countries, including Nigeria had suffered from fraudulent practices.
The minister, who was represented by the Director of Home Finance in the ministry, Mrs. Olubunmi Siyanbola, however, chronicled the federal governmenta��s efforts in detecting and preventing fraud, including Presidential Initiative on Continuous Audit, Efficiency Unit and Whistle blowing programme.
In their presentations, representatives of the Institute of Forensic Accountants of Nigeria, Prof. Usman Ali Awheela and the Chartered Institute of Forensic and Investigative Auditors in Nigeria, (CIFIAN), Mrs. Victoria Ayishetu Enape, applauded the Senate for the bills. They noted that their members had not been allowed to practice forensic accounting since there was no legislation to that effect.
By Ignatius Okorocha