Liberia: Certified Fraud Examiners Ready to Fight Corruption

….Holds three-day annual conference to reflect on gains and needs to improve in delivering on tasks

The Liberia Chapter of the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE) has pledged its support to the incoming government of President-Elect Joseph Nyumah Boakai in its fight against fraud and corruption in the public sector.

The ACFE, a professional organization based in Austin, Texas, was founded in 1988 by Joseph T. Wells and grants the professional designation of Certified Fraud Examiner. The ACFE Liberia Chapter, which is made up of various anti-graft institutions and government agencies, has demonstrated its commitment to upholding professional standards and combating corruption, despite the challenges it faces in terms of political will and financial support.

During the opening of its three-day annual conference on Wednesday, December 6, members of the ACFE Liberia Chapter, which include the Internal Audit Agency (IAA) and the General Auditing Commission (GAC) and other anti-graft entity, reassured the public of their commitment to combat fraud and corruption.

Members of the group also committed themselves to ensuring that professional standards are not compromised.

Mohammed B. Korleh, the Deputy Director General for Administration at the IAA, emphasized the importance of upholding professionalism and urged Certified Fraud Examiners to invest in their knowledge and maintain financial independence to avoid succumbing to corrupt practices.

He said that members of ACFE in Liberia have made and continue to make impactful contributions at their various workplaces, but more support is needed to ensure that there is the required efficiency and professionalism to deliver more on their jobs.

“We are not only required to uphold the codes of conduct but to also sustain them,” Korleh said, assuring that IAA remains fully prepared to serve the government's interest in fighting against corruption, no matter who is President.

He said IAA, as it has done with the previous government, will work as a government agency put in place to help fight fraud and corruption.

“Upholding professionalism requires being able to uphold professional core competence, one’s independence and objectivity, among others,” Korleh said. “This, according to the sustainability framework, actually means tenacity, your ability to uphold and maintain professional standards for the duration of your professional career. By this definition, we are reminded that upholding professionalism is not an event. It is not a one-time do or a one-time activity. As long as we ascribe ourselves to professionalism, we are required to uphold and sustain it for the rest of our lives,” he said.

Jarwo Nutah Cooper, the Director of training of ACFE Liberia Chapter, highlighted the global impact of fraud and corruption and noted the importance of continuous professional development in combating these issues.

He said fraud and corruption are not only unique to Liberia but working towards curbing them will put the country on the right trajectory and give it the needed international recognition.

In 2022, ‌2110 cases of fraud were reported from 103 countries. It shows that 5 percent of the revenue of international companies has gone down because of fraud, Cooper said.

“About 87 percent of those cases, he noted, comes from assets misappropriation, while financial statements are about 9 percent but the immediate loss of financial statements fraud is 0.5 million United States Dollars,” he said. “Assets misappropriation is something around US$100,000 and basically from the reports, it shows that it is 42 percent of these activities that could be detected.”

He said those who perpetrate fraud are in the employ of the affected organizations and workplaces and about 15 percent of those are in operations departments, and from the accounting side it is about 12 percent and executive management themselves account for about 11 percent.

“This conference will help us to be exposed to a lot of things that we are going to pick up. It is a refresher. Some of these things we have discussed before and we know them, but constant reminder is necessary for professional development,” Cooper concluded. 

Albert B. Gibson, an audit manager at GAC, assured his colleagues of the agency's dedication to supporting anti-corruption efforts under the leadership of President-Elect Joseph Nyumah Boakai.