2nd Annual Antifraud Conference

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World Bank Senior forensic accountant speaks in 2nd Annual Conference

Mumbai, June 13, 2008: Friday the 13th is considered inauspicious in many cultures and countries, often due to irrational superstition. However, this very day of this year has proved to be a red-letter day in the history of the anti-fraud movement in India, with over a hundred anti-fraud professionals gathering to meet, network and share knowledge amongst themselves on the latest anti-fraud strategies. Organized by Indiaforensic, a leading provider of anti-fraud education, training and consultancy, the event attracted the best minds in the anti-fraud profession with speakers from premier organizations like First Advantage, LabSystems, Saraansh Software, Ernst & Young, HSBC, Barclays Bank, Fullerton India, TATA-AIG, and KCPL.

The speakers amongst themselves covered a very large section of the anti-fraud areas. The highlights of the event included the role of technology in combating the various frauds. In this context, Mr. S Venkatesan, MD of Labsystems Pvt. Ltd. spoke about the role of Computer Forensics in the investigations carried out. He gave several examples of how the forensic tool has been critical in the investigations. Narrating the example of a high profile case he and his team investigated, Venkatesan said: “The CEO of the company, a management graduate from one of the top management institutes in India, was suspected to be siphoning off a large amount of company funds. The company was a publically-listed one with turnover of over INR 100 Crore. The task was to identify the extent of fraud that was taking place and also gather forensic evidence in the case.” He then went on to explain how the computer forensic tool was able to gather concrete evidence that eventually led to the prosecution of the CEO.

The session on banking fraud risk management taken up by Mr. Babu Jayendran, Advisor, Saraansh Systems Pvt. Ltd. also dealt with the role of technology and how softwares can be effectively used to do many things. Explaining the role of fuzzy logic and real time neural networks, Mr. Jayendran informed the audience how the Cross Fraud software from Saraansh protects from banking frauds and is also used for Anti Money Laundering compliance. Crossfraud is a comprehensive scaleable solution to the fraud problem faced by banks and financial institutions. It provides high performance, real-time protection against banking fraud, integrates across multiple core banking solutions and is easy to deploy and administer.

The role of technology was also highlighted by the keynote speaker of the event, Christian Kammer, Senior Forensic Accountant with the Department of Institutional Integrity, World Bank, Washington DC. He delivered the keynote session at the conference, titled the world bank’s effort to combat fraud and corruption – the experience of forensic review and Detailed Implementation Review in the Health Sector in India. Christian Kammer was a core team member that led forensic review into five major healthcare projects in India worth $569 million – the biggest forensic review that World Bank has ever done in India, called a Detailed Implementation Review. The World Bank’s Department of Institutional Integrity is mandated by the World Bank Group to investigate allegations of fraud and corruption in Bank Group operations as well as allegations of staff misconduct. The department reports directly to the President of the World Bank and is staffed by a multinational team including investigators, legal specialists, forensic accountants, and others. Kammer explained about the World Bank’s experiences in these forensic reviews, the role of technology and delivered several insights in dealing with procurement frauds.

Another interesting happening at the event was a formal release of the report on Background Screening Trends. Giving a preview of the quarterly ‘Background Screening Trends – India’ inaugural report to be published by First Advantage, Ashish Dehade, managing director (West Asia) of First Advantage, said, “The advent of a truly global workforce, complexity of multi-location operations and rapid technological advances have led to an exponential increase in the risks associated with candidate recruiting and contract staff/vendor hiring. All these aspects reinforce the need and significance of background screening as a risk mitigation strategy. Through our quarterly report, we have sought to provide relevant, up-to-date and industry-wise background screening statistics, which give an accurate portrayal of the hiring risks present in today’s workplace. Our aim is to continuously provide employers and recruiters with data and tools that enable them to progressively improve their risk mitigation strategies and benchmark those strategies against industry standards.”

India lacks professionally certified anti-fraud professionals” – this was the important message that Chairman of Indiaforensic Consultancy Services delivered to the delegates. Giving a comparison of the statistics between India and the US, Mr. Joshi said: “The US with a 1/3rd population of India still has over 23000 certified anti-fraud professionals, but India does not even have 300!” This clearly brings into focus the need for certification in this field. Currently, Indiaforensic is the only organization that offers such certifications customized to the Indian fraud scenarios. The event also saw an award ceremony wherein the anti-fraud professionals were recognized. This years Indianveshan award was given to Chandrasekhar Gokhale, MD, Astute Corp for pioneering outsourced fraud investigations function in India.

The event, which was also a ‘coming together’ of the various professionals in the anti-fraud industry from different backgrounds, such as Finance, Fraud Control, Security, Business Controls, Law Enforcement, Internal Audit etc. was held at Taj Lands End, Mumbai. The event was sponsored by First Advantage, Labsystems and Saraansh Software.