The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) is now facing crisis arising from the allegation of massive fraud trailing its council election held in May 2014.
As an institution whose watch words are ‘integrity and accuracy’, the institute alarmed by the allegation that its council election which members hold sacred has been compromised, immediately took steps to unravel the puzzle. The election which was electronically conducted through E-voting was characterized with massive fraud.
Investigation conducted by Judiciary Reporter revealed that, conscious of its image and its watchwords: “Accuracy and Integrity, the institute immediately constituted a panel, Electoral Matters Special Investigation Panel (EMSIP) of ICAN to investigate the electoral fraud as alleged, unmasked the perpetrators and recommend measures to forestall future occurrence.
The EMSIP was chaired by past president of the institute, Ayo Oni while the Secretary was Olubunmi Sowande, a fellow of the institute. In its report dated June 9, 2014, EMSIP reported that there were massive fraud in the election through several infractions in the electoral process and recommended that the institute should cancel the result of the election in its entirety.
However, the institute was not satisfied with the report and constituted an expanded panel; in order to get to the root of matter. The initial four member panel was expanded to seven member panel. Apart from Oni and Sowande who were on the original panel, the two others include, Mr. E.I. Ijewere (PP) and Princess A.A. Adeniran (PP). The three new members on the expanded panel that reviewed the EMSIP report were Chief (Dr) R.U Uche (pp), dr. (Mrs) C.G Okpareke (PP) and Mr. Bolaji Medessou who declined participation on the ground of conflict of interest and was replaced with Mr. Ngozi Keshi, a certified forensic investigation professional cum fraud examiner. His inclusion was to give forensic support to the assignment of the expanded EMSIP.
At the end of its exercises, the expanded EMSIP submitted its report dated December 1, 2014 to the council. Interestingly instead of a single report, two reports were submitted as there was a minority report submitted by Okpareke who served as the forensic auditor to the panel.
Both the majority reports and minority concurred that the elections was grossly compromised through cyber crime.
Specifically, the two reports maintained that there was a massive identity theft through hacking of system, fraudulent alteration of records of members in order to manipulate the voting process.
However, the reports differ on recommendations while the majority recommended total cancellation of the election, the minority report recommended that only the ascertained numbers of fraudulent ballots should be voided.
The minority report also recommended that Chams Plc, the ICAN service provider should be sanctioned. Both reports recommended that there should be a total clean out of its IT department while no effort should be spared to recruit men and women of integrity in the department.