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08.04.2008 Business & Finance

Business Sector, Security Agencies Must Collaborate

Security agencies need to have closer collaboration with the business sector to fight all forms of business fraud.

In this way, they would be effectively supporting the government's efforts in creating a secured business environment in order to sustain the level of business and investor confidence required to attract foreign direct investments (FDI) into the economy.

Mr Kwadwo Baah-Wiredu, Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, said this yesterday in a speech read on his behalf by Mr Dominic Donkor, Chief Economic Officer of the ministry, at the opening of a one-day seminar on Business Fraud in Accra.

The seminar, which was organised by the Tema Regional branch of the Ghana Chamber of Commerce and Industry, was on the theme, “Business fraud, impact, detection and prevention”.

Mr Baah-Wiredu said Ghana was currently enjoying tremendous international recognition as one of the few countries on the African continent with a stable democratic government, a stable macro economy and an investor-friendly business environment.

He said it was therefore imperative to ensure that those achievements were not eroded overnight by fraudsters and other social deviants.

Mr Baah-Wiredu noted that business fraud was not peculiar to Ghana but that it was more of a global phenomenon, assuming more sophisticated dimensions each day, especially with the advent of e-business, e-banking and other innovations in information technology (IT).

He observed that in 2007 alone the country experienced a number of bank frauds and other high-tech manipulations and embezzlements in both the private and public institutions.

Mr Baah-Wiredu said Internet fraud had also taken on new dimensions, making firms more vulnerable each day as they embark on IT-based innovations purposely aimed at reducing cost, enhancing their competitive advantage, expanding into new markets and for some other productive reason.

The minister noted that in line with the government's aim of making Ghana the gateway to the sub-region, it was very important to have very efficient and vigilant fraud detection and prevention mechanisms to nip in the bud all forms of crime.

An official of KPMG Ghana, Mr Reindoff B. Perbi, said business fraud was a very serious phenomenon, which if not checked, would lead to the collapse of businesses.

He, therefore, called on managing directors and heads of departments to be abreast of developments in their organisations to avoid fraud.

Mr Perbi mentioned tax evasion, frauds in employment or recruitment, fictitious documents, leaking of confidential documents to third parties and breach of internal control measures as some of the business frauds in organisations.

Mrs Victoria Maame Ekua Hajar, Regional Chairperson of the Chamber, said in this day and age when fraudsters were becoming more and more sophisticated and the nature of their crimes complex, it was imperative to have highly skilled and dedicated staff who are prepared to rise up to the challenge.

She said the chamber believed that programmes such as the seminar could help inform organisations about the modern trends of business fraud so that it could be prevented in a professional way.

— Story by Mary Mensah

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