The Senate President Sen. Ahmed Lawan has called for an increased use of forensic technology in the fight against corruption.
Speaking during a courtesy call on him by the Chartered Institute of Forensic and Investigative Professionals of Nigeria (CIFIPN), Lawan reiterated government’s resolve in fighting corruption and expressed optimism that the Institute will add value to the fight.
In her addrsss, President of the Institute, Dr Mrs Aishatu Victoria Enape thanked the Senate President for his steadfast support for the Institute over the years. She said the purpose of the visit was to invest him as Patron as a mark of recognition of his tall standing in the fight against corruption.
As Senate Leader in the 8th Senate, Lawan sponsored the passage of the Chartered Institute of Forensic and Investigative Auditors of Nigeria Bill as it was then known. Failing to obtain presidential assent in the life of that Assembly, the bill was reintroduced to the 9th Assembly and has currently passed through first and second readings in the House of Representatives.
The Institute took note of the sacrifice and contributions of the Senate President and decided to invest him as its Patron.
Emphasizing the relevance of forensic investigation in fighting corruption, Dr. Aishatu Enape rued the ease with which digital crime is committed.
“With digital technology it becomes easier for criminals to conceal or manipulate evidence to determine favorable outcomes in trials involving corruption,” she lamented.
“Forensic and investigative science is the latest global trend since the birth of the digital revolution that rendered traditional or conventional investigative skill unhelpful for prosecution of corrupt practices and economic crimes.”
“It involves a skillful development of science and technological tools to prevent, detect and investigate criminal activities emanating from economic transactions,” she said.
The body is mainly concerned with forensic and investigative science for the discovery of hidden evidence needed for prosecution of economic crimes.
The Senate President congratulated the Institute for its patience, doggedness and strong resolution noting that these are the hallmarks of the profession.
Lawan urged all professional groups to work together so that public and private funds are properly accounted for. “This is not a proliferation of accounting organizations. This is a specialized group that will meet the current challenges we face,” he said.
Noting that the Institute’s existence is very timely, the Senate President said, “The administration of President Muhammadu Buhari believes very strongly in fighting corruption so these set of professionals will definitely add value in the fight against corruption.”
“Today fear has gripped everyone that if you steal, the law will catch up with you,” he said.
Emphasizing the need for prevention as a “good route” for reducing corruption and financial crimes, Lawan said “We must make it difficult for those entrusted with public funds, especially civil servants, to have an undue access and opportunity to divert public funds by preventing it.”
“Technologies are expected to reduce loopholes because of their sophistication, the skilled required and for the fact that they are structured.”
“Using technology therefore limits or prevents the chances of infractions and eventually saves prosecutorial time and resources,” he said.
He assured that the 9th Senate is united to work for the good of Nigeria.