In the second Africa Fraud Barometer, released on Wednesday by KPMG, an international audit and financial advisory firm, Nigeria was listed as the most corrupt country in Africa. The initiative which was launched in early 2012 aims at measuring fraud in the African continent and also expose the risk of fraud for companies in their daily operations.
According to KPMG, reported cases of fraud in Africa dropped from 520 in the first half of 2011 to 503 in the first half of 2012. During the same period, the value of fraud dropped from $ 3.3 billion to $ 2 billion. According to the report, Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa accounted for 74% of the total number of cases in the African continent. KPMG also noted that Nigeria recorded the highest overall value of fraud.
Petreus Marais, KPMG’s Global leader of Forensics who developed the barometer said “this is only the second barometer we are publishing, but we have noticed a decline both in terms of reported fraud cases and their monetary value. We see this as a positive trend.”
This updated KPMG Fraud Barometer shows that fraud and misrepresentation had the highest reported cases at 37%, a decrease of 10% from the previous six months. Most fraud is committed by government officials (18%), followed by business people (15%) and employees (14%). As in the previous reporting period, government at 38% is still hardest hit by fraud and corruption, an increase of 1%. “We have identified government as a high risk area both in terms of perpetrator and victim. We therefore added a new perpetrator category of ‘government officials’. It would seem from the statistic that government is under attack from its own people. Elsewhere in the world similar surveys show that companies are under attack from management more than employees,” Marais said.
It was noted in the report that most types of fraud in Nigeria are bribes in the private and public sector, misappropriation, and contract inflation. Holders of public office and senior management in the private sector commit most fraud, victimizing company shareholders and the general population.
The efficiency of Nigeria’s legal system was also called to question in the KPMG report. Olumide Olayinka, the firm’s Head of Risk Consulting in Nigeria observed that “there have been a lot of cases involving the banking and the Oil and Gas sectors or government that lead to prosecution. The current noticeable trend is that many cases either end with a plea bargain or are simply closed without any conviction. The general belief in Nigeria is that the legal system is not effective enough.”
The data for the Africa Fraud Barometer is compiled by analysing available news articles and reviewing fraud cases from designated databases. Updates are disseminated by press release every six months.
Incidentally, just last week, a survey conducted by Gallup rated Nigeria as the second most corrupt country in the world. Kenya was rated the most corrupt.