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First gathering of Antifraud professionals and Indiaforensic members
It was the first event of Indiaforensic and every participant was curious to understand what Indiaforensic is ? Who are the people behind it and what are they doing ?
This conference was the first ever gathering of the antifraud professionals in a large number. Pune is the birthplace of Indiaforensic and naturally Pune was the obvious choice for the antifraud program. It was a challenging task before Indiaforensic to call the professionals in the city which was not the metropolitan city. Participants faced number of issues in traveling but this first ever conference saw participants flying from Chennai and Delhi for this one day program.
To promote this conference Indiaforensic sponsored a full page feature in India’s leading financial daily—The Economic Times. It was the first such widely sponsored feature on the topic of frauds. This feature was prepared by Pradeep Akkunoor– then Director of Indiaforensic and it had huge participation from the Industry leaders.
Indiaforensic, the pioneers in the field of Forensic Accounting in India, hosted the Annual Anti-Fraud Conference on the 16th of June at Le’Meridian, Pune. The event attracted experts from the industry including the prominent speakers from respected organizations like Fullerton, EY, KCPL, AccessData.
There were only five sessions in this conference and the keynote speaker for the conference was the ACFE– India Chapter President, G. Kali Prasad. This conference was made interactive by posing the quiz questions to the audiences and giving them small gifts. G. Kali Prasad was the second Indian person to complete the CFE designation from India. This was posed as the question in one of the quizzes of the conference.
Dr. Vishnu Kanhere was the opening batsman and in spite of ill-health he traveled from Mumbai just for this session. His session was magnetic and made audience understand what is forensic accounting in very easy language. He avoids using the heavy words and simplifies the concepts for the understanding of even a layman.
Second session was on computer forensic tools and Sameer Datt, CEO of Foundation Futuristic which is the sole dealer of the computer forensic tools in India. He emphasized the needs of the computer forensic in the investigation of the fraud cases in India.
Third session was on the retail banking frauds which was delivered by G.D.Balasubramaniam. GDB is the director of integrated risk management at Fullerton India. In addition to the classification of the frauds he discussed the problems that are faced by the customers.
Last session was delivered by P. Sarathkumar, who is now the Chairman of the Advisory committee of Indiaforensic. He spoke about the money laundering transactions in India. His lecture was rated as above expectation by almost all the audience.
Indiaforensic was formed with the objective to drive the growth of the antifraud profession in India. As a result Indiaforensic awarded Indianveshan as the highest award to Captain Percy Jokhi, most popular forensic accountant award to Sumeet Makhija and Top Scorer award to Vaishali Mahajan.
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.
The recession has made almost all the organizations to freeze their budgets for trainings and seminars; and this has resulted in a noticeable decrease in the number of conferences, networking events etc. The anti-fraud community, still being at a very limited level in India, the number of programs arranged for the members of this community has even more reduced. However, Indiaforensic, the pioneers in the field of Forensic Accounting in India, hosted the 3rd Annual Anti-Fraud Conference on the 19th of June at Hyatt Regency, Mumbai. The event attracted experts from the industry including the prominent speakers from respected organizations like ICICI, Vodafone, SecureMatrix, Deloitte, KCPL, SEBI and also the CBI.
The conference was divided into three categories Retail, technology and the Satyam like Corporate frauds. In the category of Satyam Story, the delegates got a rare chance to listen to two such persons who have actually worked in the investigation of Satyam Case – India’s biggest financial fraud! Mr. Ram Mohan Rao from SEBI took a session on ‘Capital Market Frauds with Reference to Satyam’ and the Chief Speaker of this conference DIG Laxminarayana from CBI took a session on ‘Challenges before CBI – Satyam Case’.
This event was perhaps the biggest gathering of the anti-fraud professionals after the Satyam fiasco and hence the Satyam topic was the main attraction for the delegates. DIG Lakshminarayana—who headed the Multidisciplinary Investigation Team of CBI was the key speaker and he answered almost all the questions of the attendees. This was the first ever presence of DIG in the private forums like Indiaforensic annual conference. DIG Lakshminarayana revealed the secrets of the investigation of the Satyam fraud. He revealed the methodology, the software tools and the way the whole fraud was perpetrated. This was the impressive session as everyone was keen to know the inside story of the biggest accounting frauds in India.
Another session in this category was delivered by Dr. Vishnu Kanhere. It is always a great pleasure to listen to Dr. Vishnu Kanhere, who has solid hold on Sanskrit and he takes help of Sanskrit “Shloks” to explain different concepts in the frauds. His session makes the layman understand what is the problem of the financial statement frauds. He spoke about the management frauds on the closing note.
However, the conference also covered other topics like ‘Frauds in Retail Banking Sector’ – taken by Mr. Gyan Barah – Head of Investigations at ICICI Bank, ‘Telecom Frauds affecting the Retail Sector’ – taken by Mr. Vikram Kulkarni – Head, Investigations at Vodafone, ‘How to Prevent Frauds while Transacting Online’ – taken by Mr. Dinesh O’ Bareja from SecureMatrix, ‘Computer Forensic Tools’ – taken by Mr. Sebastian Edassery from Deloitte and ‘Management Frauds with Emphasis on Financial Statement Frauds’ – taken by Dr. Vishnu Kanhere of KCPL.
Mr. Barah, in his session on banking sector, took a broad overview of many fraud cases about which we get to read a lot in the different newspapers. He told some precautionary measures to get prevented from being cheated. This was the first time that ICICI participated in Indiaforensic conferences.
Mr. Kulkarni, on his session on frauds in telecom sector, covered a large number of types of frauds that can happen in the telecom sector. He told it all in a very simple and ‘easy to understand’ manner and brought forward the point that such frauds can happen to anyone and everyone. He also told some precautionary measures.
Mr. Bareja covered different kinds of frauds that can be faced by anyone while transacting online. He also covered some risks that can arise because of the attitude of some insurance companies to provide instant insurance without proper check of the risk.
Mr. Sebastian took the technology related topic which could have become quite difficult for the non-technical people to understand but with the help of some user-friendly slides and some interesting case studies, he made the topic really very interesting.
The conference also included the award-distribution function with an objective to recognize the efforts of the anti-fraud professionals. The ‘Indianveshan’ award was given to Mr. Prashant Nayak from Walt Disney for his passion toward the profession and contribution for the anti-fraud community.