In recognition of his lifetime outstanding commitment to the fight against corruption and selfless service with exceptional integrity, President Muhammadu Buhari has been honoured with the Chartered Institute of Forensics and Certified Fraud Examiners of Nigeria’s (CIFCFEN) Global Integrity And Anti-corruption Corruption Award of Excellence.
The President was presented with the Award on Tuesday in Abuja by the chairman, Governing Council, CIFCFEN Board of Trustees, Dr Iliyasu Gashinbaki.
The award is the highest honour of the Institute reserved for only African Heads of States with impeccable character and unimpeachable ideals.
According to a statement by presidential spokesman, Femi Adesina, the Nigerian leader is the first African leader to be bestowed with the award.
Receiving the award, President Buhari thanked the Institute for the honour, saying: ”This recognition further imbues in me hope that we will as individuals and citizens of this country begin to live right and imbibe the ideals and ethos of the founding fathers of this great nation.”
The President pledged ”to look into and assent accordingly” a Bill seeking the formal establishment of CIFCFEN, acknowledging that the Bill is presently before him.
He commended the Institute for working and effectively complementing the efforts of law enforcement agencies, including the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) and the Police.
He directed the anti-corruption agencies to continue partnering with the Institute for the benefit of the country.
Furthermore, the President directed the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning to work with the Institute in areas of providing technical assistance and capacity building to all revenue generating agencies and regulators in the public sector.
The President lauded the Board of Trustees for issuing the first independent review of graft fighting strategy of the country, adding that he is pleased to receive copies of the latest flagship publication, the Annual (2021) CIFCFEN Country Report, themed around the review of the Country’s National Anti-Corruption Strategy 2017-2021.
”This is the first independent review of graft fighting strategy and I commend the Institute for this initiativ,” he said.
Justifying the importance of forensics and fraud examination in the fight against corruption, President Buhari said:
”The need for forensic experts arises in educating, preventing, detecting and prosecuting fraudsters, while fraud examination helps mitigate vices like embezzlement, money laundering, misuse and mismanagement of public resources.
”Many Nigerians, who are serious about eliminating corruption in our country, will welcome this review of the National Anti-Corruption Strategy midwifed by the Federal Ministry of Justice and the Presidential Advisory Committee on Anti-Corruption in 2017 and supported by our International friends.
”This has been our flagship effort in fighting corruption and we did this by distilling all previous strategies geared towards fighting corruption into a single strategy, while this review comes with recommendations that will be carefully reviewed by the Office of the Attorney General and adopted in our 2nd National Anti-Corruption Strategy that will be unveiled shortly.
”This effort by the Institute to undertake the review of the national anti-corruption strategy is highly commendable and it has shown the usefulness of partnerships with professional bodies and my administration will continue to partner with the Institute and as well as other private institutions, the academia and other stakeholders in the fight to stop sleaze and mitigate corruption,” he added.
In his remarks, Dr Gashinbaki noted that the Institute was established in 2011 by the Association of National Accountants of Nigeria (ANAN) as the Society of Forensic Accounting and Fraud Prevention (SFAFP), but was later changed to CIFCFEN.
He said as a partner to the government, the Institute has noted certain commendable international best practices by this administration, which should be sustained by even successive administrations.
He listed the following: ”Principle of complete non-interference with investigation activities; elimination of the culture of political investigations and prosecutions; strong will in reforming the oil and gas sector; sustainable reforms in the maritime sector; treasury single account; recoveries of the proceeds of crime and forensic audit of revenue generating and big spending agencies.”
The chairman, Governing Council CIFCFEN Board of Trustees added that sustenance of best practices such as open government partnership, as well as the open contracting regime and beneficial ownership disclosure would have the significant potential of increasing the nation’s revenue by N10 trillion in the short term.