Association of Certified Fraud Examiners Convened for Three Days to Combat Fraud and Corruption

Robert Serge Saint-Pé and Dioda Wreh-Seekey

In a concerted effort to strengthen the fight against fraud and corruption, the Liberia Chapter of the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE) recently steered a highly informative three-day anti-fraud conference as part of the ACFE compulsory annual fraud examiners session, held between December 6 to December 8, 2023, at the Civil Service Agency (CSA) within the Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf (EJS) Ministerial Complex, Monrovia, Liberia.

The event, held under the theme “Combating Fraud and Corruption Through Increased Vigilance and Innovation,” brought together professionals, experts, and stakeholders keen on honing their skills in topics such as tracing illicit transactions as fraud examiners, critical thinking skills for fraud examiners in understanding the mindset of a fraudster, ethics for anti-fraud professionals, detecting fraud through vendor audits, and identifying phony estimates in financial statements.

Day 1: Tracing Illicit Transactions and Critical Thinking for Fraud Examiners

The program kicked off with a comprehensive session by the Associate County Director of PriceWaterHouseCoopers (PWC), Mr. Prince Taylor, who spoke on tracing illicit transactions, providing insights on tracking and identifying suspicious financial activities. Participants were exposed to real-world case studies and practical exercises designed to enhance their investigative skills.

Hon. James Kerkulah, Deputy Director of the General Audit Service from the Internal Audit Agency (IAA), conducted the critical thinking session, meant to foster a proactive mindset among attendees in addressing evolving fraudulent schemes.

Day 2: Ethics for Anti-Fraud Professionals and Detecting Fraud through Vendor Audit

On Day 2, Mr. Anderson D. Miamen, Executive Director of Center for Transparency and Accountability in Liberia (CENTAL), focused on the ethical considerations inherent in the fight against fraud, as well as the valuable perspectives on maintaining integrity, professionalism, and ethical conduct in the pursuit of combating fraud. Partner and co-owner of Crowe Liberia led the discussions on the importance of upholding ethical standards in the face of challenging situations commonly encountered by anti-fraud professionals.

Day 3: Phony Estimates in Financial Statements

The final day of the program delved into the intricacies of fraud detection techniques and the identification of deceptive estimates in financial statements conducted by the Deputy Director of General Special Audit from the Internal Audit Agency, Hon. Seiwon Seidi. Participants gained insights into the latest technologies and methodologies employed in uncovering fraudulent activities. The sessions emphasized the significance of staying ahead of fraudsters through continuous education and adaptation to emerging trends.

Throughout the three days, participants engaged in lively discussions, networking opportunities, and hands-on exercises, creating a dynamic learning environment that encouraged collaboration amongst professionals from both the public and private sectors.

The Director of Training of the ACFE, Mr. Jarwo N. Cooper, in representation of the institution’s President, Attorney-At-Law, Augustine Chenoway, expressed his satisfaction with the event’s success, stating that the ACFE mission is to reduce the incidence of fraud and white collar crimes and to assist the government in fraud detection and deterrence. Mr. Cooper highlighted the global impact of fraud and corruption and noted the importance of continuous professional development in combating these issues, further stating that a lot of revenue generation by international companies has gone unnoticed due to the increased rate of fraud. He mentioned that fraud and corruption are not only unique to Liberia, but working towards crumpling them will put the nation on the right trajectory and give it the needed international recognition.

Mr. Alfred Drosaye, Principal Administrative Officer (PAO) of the CSA, who spoke on behalf of the CSA’s Director-General, Hon. James A. Thompson, thanked the heads of ACFE for such an initiative and encouraged continuous partnership in working more with the Agency. Mr. Drosaye advised the attendees to practice integrity and professionalism in bettering the implementation and regulation of their individual professional careers, which will then provide better working environments.

Also speaking at the event, the Deputy Director for Administration of the IAA, Mohammed Korleh, called on anti-fraud examiners to maintain professionalism in their work. Mr. Korleh indicated that upholding professionalism should be demonstrated at every level of their work, including academy upgrading, research, and building a network of professional friendships, among others.

The conference climaxed with certificates being awarded to over seventy (70) attendees representing more than twenty (20) public and private institutions, including the Internal Auditing Agency (IAA), the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning (MFDP), the Government Audit Commission (GAC), the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA), the Civil Service Agency (CSA), the Liberia Electricity Cooperation (LEC), the Liberia Water and Sewer Cooperation (LWSC), and Ecobank amongst others.

The ACFE annual conference aims to empower participants with the latest knowledge and tools to tackle the growing challenges posed by fraud and corruption in various sectors and enhance transparency and accountability in Liberia.

The ACFE-Liberia Chapter #198 is the governing body for Certified Fraud Examiners in Liberia. It is an affiliate of the global body, the ACFE, Incorporated which is the World’s largest Anti-Fraud Organization and Premier provider of Anti-Fraud Training and Education with global headquarters in Austin, Texas, USA.

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