11 November 2011

It may be Armistice Day but the war on fraud is unending.
International Fraud Awareness week – with which the US Association of Certified Fraud Examiners has tagged the November 6 -12 period – is not promoted in New Zealand, but this has been a week where fraud has had a high profile.
The launch of the public sector Fraud Survey provided a platform for the Auditor General, Director of the Serious Fraud Office and  an Assistant Police  Commissioner, together with Transparency International and Pricewaterhouse Coopers spokespeople,  to advocate the need for a continuing  campaign against fraud across government agencies and the importance of  arming these agencies with an ethical culture  to minimise the opportunities for corruption.
By coincidence, enforcement action against a number of fraudsters during the week has highlighed the susceptibility of all organisations.  Offenders in the news this week have included a bank manager, a jet-setting escort, a lawyer, an accountant and a Crown entity finance officer. Yesterday the SFO charged a former company director with a $103 million fraud.
This week, the New South Wales Independent Commission Against Corruption published its half yearly bulletin “Corruption Matters”.  This includes a disturbing report on the corrupting influence of low value gifts and hospitality provided by suppliers to the employees of 110  State and local authority agencies. Full details of the public enquiry conducted during October will finalised over the next few months.
A wide range of enforcement agencies also took part this week in an  Australian  anti money laundering conference.  This highlighted the extent of fraud  – estimated by the World Bank at $US 2 trillion annually  – and the importance of following the money as the most effective combative strategy.