Fraud, which is the use of deception or isrepresentation to make money or gain advantage at the expense of others, is one of the most expensive crimes afflicting millions of people in the world today.
Nowadays scams find you anywhere – on the internet, at car dealership and in the streets.
Poignant criminals, who commit fraud, have no personal preference. They victimise the youth, senior citizens, police departments, administrations, financial institutions, ports and large corporations.
In Tanzania, in particular, fraud has reached alarming proportions due to lack of workable investigation, detection and prevention measures.
Every year, the nation is losing billions of shillings that could have been used in development due to fraud. Of course, one of the reasons for a widening gap between the rich and poor is the fact that the unscrupulous few are squandering public resources to the detriment of the poor majority.
During a “Kipima Joto” programme run every Friday from 21:00-23:00 by ITV, Concern for Development Initiatives in Africa (FORDIA) Executive Director Buberwa Kaiza said recently that Tanzania’s corruption had reached 55 per cent, according to a study done by his organisation.
With him other two panelists were Godrefy Zambi and Augustine Lyatonga Mrema, one of the parliamentary committees’ chairmen. Mrema said in 36 out of 132 municipal councils they had visited in the country, they discovered that 256 accounts books were missing (either hidden or destroyed so that no evidence could be obtained). This is just to show how fraud is afflicting the nation!
Thus, to combat fraud, we have to know what exactly it is, how it happens and how it affects us. Tanzania Global Learning Agency (TaGLA) in collaboration with Kenya Development Learning Centre (KDLC) has organised a videoconference on fraud investigation, detection and
prevention on July 23-27. The workshop targets lead investigative officers, criminal investigators, investigative journalists and crime fighters in the public and private sectors.
Specifically, the workshop is ideal for Prevention and Combating of Corruption Bureau (PCCB) officers, the police department, financial institutions, the fire department, the tax administration, auditors, the Ports Authority, information and communication technology (ICT) units, procurement units and security organisations.
Fraud causes economic decline due to direct physical damage and losses suffered by public services, indirect economic losses endured by prominent corporations due to losses suffered by their clients, physical injury or death to innocent victims caught in the middle of a scam gone wrong and emotional and psychological burdens placed on fraud victims.
By the end of the workshop, participants should be able to identify, among other things, targeted audiences of credit card fraud, prevention methods and measures to combat fraud. They should also be able to identify the nature of the alleged crime, know the law relating to it, know the evidence required to establish the facts and support a prosecution and know the powers available to the investigator.
TaGLA has been active in capacity building programmes to inculcate in participants requisite skills and knowledge that will enable them to work effectively. Its core function is to enable decision-makers, senior and mid-level professionals and practitioners to access and share the wealth of knowledge and experiences available in the world through global communication systems and ICTs.
Africa’s underdevelopment is partly contributed by fraud and more concerted effort is needed to free the African continent from the fraud menace.
A study conducted by an auditing firm, KPMG, and released on April 25, this year, shows that fraud cost African governments and companies at least US$10.9 billion last year.
KPMG forensic investigator Petrus Marais said there was a strong sense that the tide was turning, as more and more countries were making combating corruption an issue of government.
The inaugural Africa Fraud Barometer found 875 cases of fraud in Africa last year. Managements were responsible for US$54.5 billion fraud or 40 per cent of the total for the year.
The public sector was the most frequently impacted by fraud, accounting for 44 per cent of all cases in the first half of 2011 and 39 per cent in the second half.
Detecting fraud is hard work and it is not an off but a continuous exercise and should be made an aspect of routine business. To detect fraud resources must be allocated specifically for the task. It is not easy to detect all frauds.
It is worthwhile to note that with credit e-banking and the internet crimes have become sophisticated requiring appropriate training in related fields in order to contain escalating criminal phenomena.
TaGLA capacity building programmes are geared towards bringing about desirable changes in society for it is only through gaining more skills and knowledge that one can change one’s attitude and mindset and become different for knowledge is power.