Nigerian banks, havens of fraudulent trillions of naira- Senator

A bill to prevent financial fraud in government and private organisations in Nigeria has scaled through second reading at the Senate.

The bill (A bill for an Act to establish the Chartered Institute of Forensic and Investigative Professionals in Nigeria) was sponsored by Senate Leader, Yahaya Abdullahi (APC – Kebbi) at Tuesday’s plenary.

Mr. Abdullahi, while leading debate on the bill, said it would assist the government in promoting transparency and accountability via the provision of sophisticated mechanisms to prevent fraud by using advanced audit technology.

According to him, the establishment of the ‘Institute of Forensic and Investigative Professionals to develop and train Investigative Professionals in Nigeria’ would give the government access to home-based forensic and investigative auditors.

“Going by its objectives, the bill will promote high professional standards, ethics, and etiquettes among members to eradicate cases of compromised auditing process and reporting.

“Interestingly, this bill, when passed will make provision for the training of professionals from other disciplines like lawyers, criminologists, and security experts, judicial officers, court registrars among others,” he said.

Contributing, Sen. Ayo Akinyelure argued that the bill’s passage would help prevent fraud in the nation’s financial system.

According to him, the institute’s establishment will uncover funds hidden in banks across Nigeria.

“Today, many funds are hidden in our financial institutions running into trillions of naira, but because the technology required to uncover these frauds are not in place, the establishment of this particular professional body will go a long way to uncover most of these funds.

“I want to commend the leader of the Senate, for presenting this bill. We can no longer fund our budgets, but some Nigerians are richer than this country, and the monies are hidden in the banks for no use,” he said.

The bill was referred by the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, to the Committee on Establishment and Public Service Matters for further legislative input.

The committee, chaired by Sen. Ibrahim Shekarau (APC – Kano), is expected to present its report in two weeks.