January 16, 1998
The leader of the PNC, Mr Hugh Desmond Hoyte, has called for a forensic audit to be conducted on the Dec. 15/97 election results. That is good.
For the benefit of the nation I wish to outline the role and functions of forensic accountants. Forensic accountants must have as part of their repertoire skill and training in fraud investigation. They should have at the very least, among other things, (a) accountancy and audit knowledge; (b) knowledge of fraud, laws and rules of evidence; (c) understanding of psychology and motivation; (d) investigative mentality and critical skepticism; (e) understanding of computers and information technology.
Moreover, forensic accountants approach a case with their accounting/audit skills and investigative techniques by applying intuition, critical analysis and understanding of human behavior to obtain a clear picture of events, transactions and business dealings. They emphasize the interviewing of people before the examination of documents, determine investigative strategies after evaluating the ongoing flow of information from both people and documents.
A forensic investigation can achieve several essential requirements to prove that fraud has occurred, including:
* identifying the method used to defraud as well as the scope of the fraud.
* determining exactly who was involved and each person's role;
* interviewing the key players;
* identifying and locating supporting documentation;
* quantifying the loss/theft etc.
Hopefully, the above will help to give the nation an understanding of the role of a forensic auditor and the benefit of such an audit.