Author: Adebisi Abiodun
Publisher: Megasynergy Nigeria Ltd (+234 (0) 8055867144)
Reviewer: Goke Ilesanmi
As a result of the prevalence of fraud in our society today, there is need for a sustained campaign against the menace. This is why we are examining another book on fraud prevention this week. It is written by Adebisi Abiodun, a professional accountant. Abiodun studied Accountancy at the Nigerian Army School of Finance and Administration, Lagos, Nigeria. He bagged a Master of Business Administration (MBA), with specialisation in Marketing, from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka.
Abiodun is an Associate member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN); Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN) and Nigerian Institute of Management (NIM). He was formerly part-time lecturer at the Lagos State University (LASU), Lagos; Yaba College of Technology, Lagos and Kwara State Polytechnic, Lagos Centre, Iponri, Lagos.
Abiodun says publication of this text became necessary due to frequency of (attempted) fraud in the banking sub-sector and the fact that knowledge of this aspect of banking has not been properly developed in proportion to the rate of fraud increase in the industry, especially after the last bank consolidation.
This text is segmented into five sections of 15 chapters. Section A has the overall thematic focus of “Fraud, prevention and detection” and contains the first two chapters. Chapter one is entitled “Fraud”. In the words of Abiodun here, “Fraud has been in existence from the beginning of creation. From biblical account, it started in the Garden of Eden, where the serpent deceived Eve, resulting in the fall of man… The reality is that fraud can happen anywhere….”
He adds that the risks of fraud may only continue to increase as we experience stronger globalisation, more competitive markets, rapid developments in technology and periods of economic difficulty. This author says fraud is very wide in nature and the types of fraud to be treated in this book are restricted to those that have to do with financial crimes relevant to banking activities. He educates that fraud can originate from within or outside a bank. According to him, “From within, the staff involved may use their position as an avenue to steal from the bank’s assets or customers’ accounts. However, when fraud originates from outside, the fraudsters simply use a bank as conduit.”
Chapter two is based on the subject matter of fraud prevention and detection. Here, Abiodun explains that based on the earlier discussion as to why people commit fraud, it is clear that one of the most effective ways to deal with the problem of fraud is to adopt methods that will decrease the motive, restrict the opportunity and limit the ability for potential fraudsters to rationalise their actions. He says, “In case of deliberate acts of fraud, the aim of preventive controls is to reduce the opportunity and remove the temptation from potential offenders. Prevention techniques include the introduction of policies, procedures and controls, and activities such as training and fraud awareness to stop fraud from occurring.” This author educates that given the prevalence of fraud and the negative consequences associated with it, there is a compelling argument that organisations should invest time and resources in efforts to tackle fraud.
Section B is generically christened “Customer service activities” and covers four chapters, that is, chapters three to seven. Chapter three is on customer information management. Abiodun says the aspect of customer information management is that based on the relationship between the customer and the bank. This author explains that there are rules expected to be observed and the moment these rules are improperly applied, any future issue on such an account may lead to a great loss to the bank. He says it is the aspect that ensures that information indicated by the customer is correct or verifiable, in addition to being in compliance with the entire statutory, regulatory and organisational requirements.
In chapters four to seven, this author beams his analytical searchlight on the concepts of deposits and withdrawal administration; clearing activities; bank guaranteed cheques and local fund transfer.
Section C is summarily woven together as “Creation of risk assets” and contains chapters eight and nine. Here, Abiodun examines risk assets and facility processing.
Section D has eclectic subject matter of acceptable collateral and covers five chapters, that is, chapters 10 to 14. Chapter 10 is entitled “Land”. Here, this author says land is the most important and most acceptable form of security to banks. “In law, land comprises the earth surface, everything above and below it, in as much as such things are physically attached to the land. Hence, land in this context may be of developed and undeveloped nature. The property right over land can be in two forms,” Abiodun educates.
In chapters 11 to 14, he X-rays concepts such as stocks and shares; guaranteed and indemnities; life assurance policy; and miscellaneous securities.
Section E, the last section is summarily labelled “Bad debt management” and contains just a chapter, that is, chapter 15 entitled “Debt management”.
As regards mode of presentation, this text is okay. For example, a legendary quote, classical allusion or biblical allusion is used at the beginning of every chapter as a prelude to the conceptual focus. Abiodun also uses detailed illustrations to enhance the understanding of readers. He proves that he was once a lecturer with his simplicity of language and depth of research. What’s more, this author also aligns with academic culture by including rich references and index at the end of the text in addition to inclusion of legislation and cases. Another thing worthy of note is the attractiveness of the cover design and its visual communication which reinforces the book title. The layout of the inside pages is also seductive.
However, the uncountable noun “Collateral”, which has the lexicographical symbol of “U” (that is, “Uncountable”) against it in the dictionary, is wrongly used in a countable form on page 217. Another error found in the book is a common error in Nigerian English, that is, “…was yet to…” (page vi), instead of the Standard British English version “…had yet to…” Confirm this from pages 913 and 1918 of Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English, 2005 edition; page 1664 of the 2000 edition or any dictionary.
Generally, this book is a brilliant package. It is a book that everybody in the financial services industry, especially bankers must have. It is highly educative.
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GOKE ILESANMI, Editor-in-Chief/CEO of www.gokeilesanmi.com.ng and Managing Consultant/CEO of Gokmar Communication Consulting, is a Certified Public Speaker/Emcee, (Business) Communication Specialist, Motivational Speaker, Career Management Coach, Renowned Book Reviewer, Corporate Leadership Expert and Editorial Consultant.