UPSA launches forensic audit, anti-money laundering and cyber crime seminar

As part of their professional curriculum, University of Professional Studies Accra (UPSA) has launched a seminar on forensic audit, anti-money laundering, cybercrime and frauds last Saturday in Accra.

The lectures have been programmed to enhance the knowledge of graduate students undertaking Masters in Business Administration.

A large number of professionals including accountants, auditors, human resources managers and bankers have enrolled for the course showed how deeply rooted the issue is and the need for early intervention

A former High Court Judge, Justice John Ajet-Nasam, who is now the President and CEO of Emmanuel -jjan &Partners Consult, took the participants through the Seminar as a Resource Person.

Subtopics as cybercrime, criminal justice, electronic evidence, electronic evidence and their admissibility, forensic auditing as well as criminology and frauds.

Touching on the Electronic Evidence, Mr Ajet-Nasam, underscored the characteristics of electronic evidence, the importance of electronic evidence, their principles and admissibility in the law court.

Other subtopics were banks and business records, Trusted Time Stamping Authority (TSA) which he indicated is a very important aspect of electronic evidence.

He further underscored the fact that electronic/digital evidence should not be edited or temper within any form before its presentation. The integrity of the person who collected and how it is handled and stored learns credibility to the evidence in the court of law or tribunal of facts.

On Criminology and Frauds, the former High Court Judge took the participants through topics such as the psychology of fraudsters, causes of frauds, market manipulations and high frauds environment, occupational frauds and organized crime.

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Taking the participants through fraud, the former High Court Judge said, the reason why people commit fraud is difficult to understand, however he indicated, some could be financial pursuit, greed, dishonesty and or at times the fraudster wanted to be known in the society as rich, riding in flashy cars, while some fraudsters pursue the lifestyle for the fun of it, to get people manipulated and the delight of fooling them. He added that some are under the deluge of what is termed “technique of neutralization” where the fraudster feet no guilt if he achieved his aim.

When, however, it is against large firm, the fraudsters are of the view that others could afford to pay.

He stressed that specialization in this area is much sought-after considering increasing incidents of cybercrime, fraud and money laundering.

Ghana was recently blacklisted by the European Union (EU amongst 23 countries with weak money laundering, terrorism financing rules.

He underscored the fact that forensic auditing is an accounting speciality that integrates accounting, auditing and investigative skills with specialised forensic audit equipment and tools in order to support or resolve allegations of fraud and to put in place mechanism to prevent and or minimized them.

The former High Court Judge said at the seminar, there is an appropriate legal framework for reporting anti-money laundering and terrorists financing crimes.

He called for collaboration between the Financial Intelligence Centre ( FIC), the Financial Courts, the Banks and the Attorney General Office in order to take Ghana out of the blacklist.

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Mr Ajet-Nasam, recalled five years ago when Ghana was blacklisted, he together with Mr Essel Thompson, a former Executive Secretary of FIC met with the EU assessors to get Ghana delisted.

The President and CEO of Emmanuel-jjan & Partners Consult, identified Data Integrity as one of the fundamental principles of electronic evidence, and that when handling electronic devices and data, they must not be changed, either in relation to hardware or software, adding that, “The person in charge is responsible for the integrity of the material recovered from the scene and thus for commencing a forensic chain of custody.”

He explained that “Fraud is a misrepresentation of the truth or concealment of a material fact to induce another to act to his or her detriment. A misrepresentation made reluctantly without belief in its truth to induce another person to act.”

“It should be noted that fraud is usually a tort, but in some cases especially when the conduct is willful it may be a crime,” he added.

There has been increased importance in combating money laundering in the financial world and there is an increasing demand for experts in this field.

He, therefore, commended the UPSA for taking the lead in imparting the knowledge and professional skills for its graduate students for early the detection, prevention and investigation of fraud.