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16.07.2004 Business & Finance

Corporate bodies educated on business fraud

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Tema, July 16, GNA- A day's seminar aimed at educating corporate bodies on the elimination of business fraud in order to ensure economic growth of organisations opened on Thursday at Tema.

Organised by the Tema Regional Chamber of Commerce and Industry for 35 participants from the various industries in Tema, the seminar deliberated at length on the early detection and prevention of business fraud.

The seminar identified sources of fraud in areas including administration, banks/financial institutions, tax, computer, internet, information technology, acceptance of bribes, inducement to assist fraud and, misuse of official documents.

Speaking on the topic "Bank and Other Financial Sector Fraud: Impact/Detection", Mr Dan Opare, Corporate Head of Investigation of the Barclays Bank of Ghana said in protecting a company's business account, there was the need for management staff to block loopholes that enabled workers adopt foul means to commit fraud.

He said it was appropriate that only management staff must have knowledge of an organisation's business account, since subordinates have the potential of manipulating documents.

He said experience have proved that fraudsters normally use junior workers who handle vital information for their source of dubious businesses and this tookd a longer period to detect.

Mr Opare advised management to allow all categories of workers to proceed on their annual leave when they were due so that equally competent people could take over and gain experience.

He therefore found it inappropriate for finance staff to be recalled from their leave to handle funds when there were equally competent workers to do the same job.

The Corporate Head called for vigilance to prevent fraud, because people use all sorts of means including disguising themselves to defraud a company.

In a paper presented at the seminar and read on his behalf, Mr Abraham Ossei Aidooh, MP for Tema West and Deputy Majority Leader stressed the need for legislators and personnel from vital institutions to be constantly abreast with developments in information technology and the financial markets.

This would enable such organisations including the Police Service, Serious Fraud Office (SFO), and Attorney General's Department to propose and enact appropriate legislations to deal with crime-related issues. He called for the strengthening of the Attorney General's Department with logistics to effectively prosecute business fraud offenders.

Mr Aidoo noted that most business fraud in corporate bodies is as a result of the weak-supervising role of directors over the executives who are in charge of the day-to-day running of the companies.

To serve as a deterrent to business fraudsters, he suggested long imprisonment terms and confiscation of any assets illegally acquired. Mr Prince Amoako Nuamah, Tema Regional chairman of the Chamber called for concerted efforts to eliminate fraud from the system.

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