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Forensic auditors bill scales second reading in House

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The rivalry between the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria and the Association of National Accountants of Nigeria reared its head at the House of Representatives on Thursday, as a bill seeking to establish a Chartered Institute of Forensics and Certified Fraud Examiners of Nigeria narrowly passed second reading.

Critics of the bill argued that accountants under their two umbrella bodies in the country – ICAN and ANAN – already had the discipline and capacity to practise the profession for which the new institute was about to be created.

The legislation is titled ‘A Bill for an Act to Establish Chartered Institute of Forensics and Certified Fraud Examiners of Nigeria to Provide for the Regulation and Control of its Membership and Promote the Practice of Forensics and Fraud Examiners in Nigeria’.

Sponsor of the bill, Mr Yusuf Yakub, while leading the debate at the second reading, noted that ANAN and the Society for Forensic Accounting and Fraud Prevention were backing the legislation.

Yakub said it was important to provide for the regulation and control of the membership and practice of forensic and fraud examination in Nigeria.

He also noted that the proposed institute covered other professions such as accounting, computer science, law, criminology, medicine, sociology, investigation and psychology, among others.

The sponsor said, “ANAN is the only chartered professional accountancy body in Nigeria empowered by law to teach as well as examine and advance the science of accountancy. (adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});

“ANAN had established and had successfully run the Nigerian College of Accountancy – currently the ANAN University.

“As of today, notable members of ANAN occupy relevant national strategic positions such as the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning (Zainab Ahmed), Accountant-General of the Federation (Ahmed Idris), Auditor General of the Federation (Adolphus Aghughu) and over 27 accountants-general of the various states in the country.”

The main antagonist of the bill, Olatubosun Olajide, however, asked the House to reject the bill.

Olajide said, “This bill was brought in the 8th Assembly and it was defeated because everything that is documented here to be done by this new body is being currently done and presently the mandate of ICAN and ANAN. ICAN was established by the ICAN Act of 1965 and in 1993, former (military) president (Ibrahim) Babangida signed the ANAN Decree. Those are the two accounting bodies in Nigeria.

“I am a member of ICAN, a fellow of the institute. And forensic accounting is just employing special skills to investigate financial misconduct in financial reporting, which falls within the scope or mandate of any accounting body. It is not a new body of knowledge that we have to create another institute for.

“I don’t want this honourable House to be misled. Please, I am appealing to our colleagues; let us toe the path of honour. What they are proposing is already being done by ICAN and ANAN and we should not be misled to establish another institute.

“On a lighter note, we learnt that this is a ‘husband and wife’ bill; like just sitting down in a living room and saying, ‘Can we also come up with an institute and start collecting annual dues from Nigerians?’

“This House should not allow that. My honourable colleagues, I am appealing to you: this bill should be thrown away into the trash bin of history once and for all, and it should never come back here.”

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