By Gift Chapi Odekina
Members of the House of Representatives Joint Committee on Anti-Corruption and Commerce on Thursday witness a mild confusion as the Chartered institute of Forensic and investigative professionals of Nigeria and the chartered institute of Forensic and Chartered fraud examiners of Nigeria and other stakeholders argue over the propriety of a proposed bill.
The two bodies at a public hearing on the passage of the Institute of Forensic and Certified Fraud Examiners of Nigeria Bill 2021 had expressed divergent views on the propriety of the new fraud examiners institute leading to disagreement between some of the lawmakers.
At first, the ICAN had expressed the view that the the passage of the Institute of Forensic and Certified Fraud Examiners Bill 2021 is unnecessary as a similar bill-the Chattered Institute of Forensic and Investigative Professionals of Nigeria Bill 2021 had been passed by the the two chambers of the National Assembly.
ICAN’s Deputy President Dr. Innocent Uzor who canvassed the position of the institute at the hearing said that the training being proposed in the new bill had been undertaken by the forensic department of the accountanting body.
He further said that forensic is primary duty of the professional body and the forensic department had already entered into partnership with the Nigerian Police Academy Wudil to achieve their objectives in the fight against corruption.
Also speaking at the hearing, the Association of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria ANAN said that bill on the proposed institute should be passed adding that forensic is multidiscpinary in nature.
Chairman of the Chattered Institute of Forensic and Certified Fraud Examiners of Nigeria Mr. I B Gashinbaki who canvassed this position of ANAN had said that the belief that forensic is only for accountants is a misnomer.
He argued that the opposition by ICAN to the bill at the public hearing is a purely a mischief and the passage of the bill is an accelerated approach to the fight against corruption in Nigeria.
He said, ” not until the private sector get involved in the fight against corruption in Nigeria, we ‘ll remain where we are”.
As the the debate went on Hon.. Uzoma Nkem Abonta (Ania, PDP) raised a point of order saying that the debate of the bill is a waste of legislative man hour as a similar bill had been passed by the House.
He wanted to speak further when the Co-chairman to the joint committee Hon. Femi Fakeye ruled him out of other and allowed another committee member Hon. Danchung Bagos (Plateau, PDP) to speak and he spoke in favour of the bill.
This led to almost a brawl as Hon. Abonta also insisted that his views must be heard and upheld and continued to shout ‘point of order’, point of order’ mr chairman. Addressing journalists separately after the stormy public hearing heads of the Chartered institute of Forensic and investigative professionals of Nigeria and the chartered institute of Forensic and Chartered fraud examiners of Nigeria maintained their stands on the proposed bill.
Both had earlier made submissions at the public hearing held by the House Joint committee on Anti-Corruption and Commerce.
The Chartered Institute of Forensic and Investigative Professionals of Nigeria had earlier claimed that, the proposed bill sponsored by Yusuf Buba Yakubu was allegedly a duplication of their sponsored bill passed by the 8th Senate and the House of Representatives.
Addressing journalists at a press briefing, the pro-tem president of the institute, Enape Victoria said, they were taken aback when they discovered that, the proposed bill was allegedly a duplication of their bill passed by the 8th assembly.
“On hearing this, we became curious and our curiosity led us to critically look at the provisions of the newly introduced bill alongside with ours which was already been passed by the National Assembly, and we discovered that, the provisions of the new bill, merely duplicate the provisions of our bill.
“This misconception arose due to the similarities of the nomenclature of the names of the institutes and their functions, as espoused in the provisions of the two bills, hence the need for the National Assembly to do what is requires to save Nigerians from the seeming confusions.
“As an institute, we cannot sit idly-by and watch this deliberate attempts to frustrate our resolute efforts towards securing the long awaited legislative/institutional framework of our institute,” she said.
However, the Chief Executive, Chartered Institute of Forensics and Certified Fraud Examiners of Nigeria, Iliya Gashin Baki in his defence said, the bill seeks to address the existing gaps and the growing complexities in the ways financial transactions are being conducted especially with the use of technology and other reasons.
According to him, the institute is aware that, the 8th assembly had worked and passed a bill which was not assented to and returned.
He described the claim by the Chartered Institute of Forensic and Investigative Professionals of Nigeria as frivolous and an attempt to misrepresent facts.