Article

Managed Forensic

Is enough being done to combat fraud and corruption?

The fraud and corruption risk landscape has changed and will continue to evolve with business trends, enhancements in technology and most importantly, to stay ahead of law enforcement agencies. Government and corporates need to adopt a “back to basics” approach to obtain an objective view of the current environment.

The current trends and frequency of media coverage confirms that the answer to the above question is “no”. However in order to contextualise this it is important to note that Government is not alone in this regard as both private and public sector organisations lose their grip on the ever increasing incidence of fraud and corruption. Unfortunately these crimes have become a pervasive way of life, which Government needs to be cognisant of, and consider specific requirements to combatting fraud and corruption. Fraud and corruption has become part of our daily environment and can seem to be less shocking and unique, the danger being that society not only accepts this as a way of life but become more brazen with a larger number of people becoming actively involved in fraudulent and corrupt activities with the belief that this is the norm and they will get away with such criminal acts. This view is unfortunately supported by the limitations within our law enforcement agencies and judicial processes.

The fraud and corruption risk landscape has changed and will continue to evolve with business trends, enhancements in technology and most importantly, to stay ahead of law enforcement agencies. Government and corporates need to adopt a “back to basics” approach to obtain an objective view of the current environment.

The following questions need to be front of mind when assessing the current efficacy of Government’s efforts in combatting fraud and corruption:

  • Is there one integrated Fraud and Corruption Strategy across all spheres of Government and how is this assessed in terms of efficacy?
  • Have independent cascading fraud and corruption risk assessments been conducted from National to Provincial level, with the inclusion of Municipal structures?
  • If so, are these risks clearly documented, tracked with mitigation factors and who is accountable for this process.
  • Is trend analysis and intelligence gathered on incidents of fraud and corruption and when similarities across Government are detected?
  •  Has the issue of conflicts of interest been successfully addressed and is technology being used for continuous assessment of supplier and employee relationship?
  • Has an independently managed, central electronic database been established which allows continuous, effective analytics to be performed across both master and transactional data and who is accountable for this?
  • Does contract compliance assessment and monitoring occur across all three spheres on an integrated, electronic basis to ensure value for money, compliance with contract appointment standards and vendor monitoring?
  • Is the success rate of resolution of matters involving fraud and corruption tracked? How does this compare from a South African and International perspective?
  • Has Government quantified the link between fraud and corruption and the impact on service delivery, irregular and wasteful expenditure and have the risks been documented and mitigated to reduce re-occurrence? 
  • Does Government as a whole conduct an independent, structured and integrated assessment of its “fraud and corruption health” and are the results benchmarked against previous assessments?

These are merely some of the basic questions that need to be answered as part of determining where we stand as a country in respect of fraud and corruption. The common theme is the need for co-ordination between Government through the expanded use of technology, accountability and independent, transparent assessment and reporting both internally and to the public.

Most instances of fraud and corruption within Government involves a non-Governmental individual or entity who stands to benefit from the crime. We should, as responsible corporate citizens and South Africans, ask ourselves what are we doing to assist Government in reducing fraud and corruption?

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