By Gilbert Ekezie

The Society for West African Internal Audit Practitioners (SWAIAP) has called on the Federal Government to be more serious in the fight against corruption in the country.

The body also asked the National Assembly to fast-track passage of the bill on Internal Auditing Practice in Nigeria.

The president of SWAIAP, Noble Patrick Nzechukwu, made the calls at the inaugural induction/investiture and fellowship award held recently in Lagos. The theme was “Internal Auditing: Effective Tool for Anti-Corruption, Risk Management, Controls and Corporate Governance”.

Nzechukwu, who was installed as the president/chief executive officer of the body, regretted that the Federal Government has not displayed any political will to deal with corruption  ravaging the country.

He lamented that what he presented to the National Assembly since 2013 on how to protect the internal auditor from victimization and enhance the effectiveness of financial reporting in organizations as well as ensure corruption is reduced to the barest minimum was yet to be passed into law.

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Nzechukwu said that if the internal auditor was allowed to work unhindered, the organization would will reduce wastes, minimize fraud, mitigate risks by identifying and recommending appropriate controls, enthrone good corporate governance and ensure compliance to policies, procedures, extant laws and regulations.

He said: “If you want to go after treasury looters or people that have done wrong, you spend more resources. To catch a thief, you must put some measures in place. But if you want to stop a thief, you put preventive measures. As internal auditors, we don’t emphasize on curing a disease but on preventing a disease. For me, that is the most effective way to fight corruption, instead of waiting till money has been looted, and you spend more money to go after those who looted it.”

He informed that SWAIAP also has the mission to review the current internal auditing practices in West Africa in tandem with global best practices.

Nzechukwu disclosed that some of the SWAIAP’s activities lined up in the coming months and years include: West African Inter-State Annual Conference; West African Inter-State Annual Dialogue on effectiveness of GRC practice; West African Women Internal Auditors Forum; Walk for Life Health Assurance and Achievers Annual Dinner Awards Night, among others.

The SWAIAP president stated that another problem Nigerians need to address, is the value system which he said was nose-diving.

According to him, “emphasis is always on money. There is no problem if we acquire wealth through legitimate means nurtured in moral values. But what we have today is getting rich at all costs and by any means. This has hyped corruption at the highest level with our moral values relegated to the background. Today, industries and money bags promote activities that negate our moral values.”