Experts decry shortage of fraud investigators in Africa


WE’RE HANDICAPPED WHEN IT COMES TO INVESTIGATING CYBERCRIME: Tanzania’s Comptroller and Auditor General Prof. Mussa Assad

Experts attending the second annual Conference of international Institute of Certified Forensic Investigation Professionals (IICFIP) in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania this week conceded the continent lacks certified fraud examiners and sophisticated investigative tools to combat rampant cybercrime.

Prof Mussa Assad, Tanzania’s Controller and Auditor General (CAG) revealed to the gathering that Tanzania has only five certified forensic examiners.

The CAG said this has partly contributed to the fact that many online fraud cases are not timely and fully investigated.

“Most of fraud and money laundering related cases don’t reach court make it due to lack of accurate and precise evidence to prove beyond reasonable doubt.” He lamented

The auditor general added the country and the continent needs more expert examiners to investigate today’s sophisticated crimes.

The accountant expert said forensic investigation was critical for accounts, banks, police, insurance and security firms.

He however maintained that the government provides training to staff and has adopted various techniques for fighting fraud and money laundering.

Prof Assad underscored that it is worth noting that forensic investigation “is a complex and demanding process” that requires some personal intuition, reflection and specialized training.

Akepe Linus Enobi, IICFIP Africa Director said cases of cybercrime and corruption were increasing at alarming pace and required collaboration among states to control.

According to the director, the institution plans to build a digital forensics laboratory in Nigeria that will help in screening evidence in a more advanced manner.

The laboratory to be launched later this year will complement the other one being built in Dubai at a cost of USD100million, according Sosthenes Nyabuto Bichanga, President of IICFIP

Mr. Bichanga revealed that government agencies and private institutions lose 7 percent of their annual revenues in fraud.

He said most African countries with no high tech tools to fight and probe fraud lose like 20% of revenues every year.

He called upon Tanzania and other countries in the region to commit to addressing the problem that costs the continent about $ 50 billion annually.

“If you cannot understand how the crime was committed then, it’s simple you cannot win the case … we’re here to offer capacity building among forensic investigation professionals,” he said.

He hopes the new laboratories are “life-savers” to the profession.

Tanzania recently passed the Cybercrimes law that will attempt to combat online fraud.

The conference was attended by 70 delegates from Nigeria, Cameroon, Uganda, Kenya, Botswana, South Africa, UAE and the host Tanzania.