Financial expert says corruption, fraud setbacks to Nigeria’s development

Mr. Ubani Uchechukwu Ubani

By Emmanuel Akinpelu, ilorin

A former National Auditor, Committee of Chief Inspectors of Banks in Nigeria, Mr. Ubani Uchechukwu Ubani, has said that corruption and fraud have hindered Nigeria’s growth and development.

In an interview on Sunday, Ubani who is Chief Examiner for The Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN); currently the Managing Consultant, BVL Investment Trust Ltd; former Chief Inspector, Capital Bank International Plc now merged into Access Bank Plc during 2005 consolidation, and former Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Peniel Microfinance Bank Ltd, said that corruption appears to have become endemic in many sectors in Nigeria.

According to him, his two new books: Breaking the Shackles of Poverty: Foundation and Building Blocks for Lasting Wealth; and Internal Controls in practice: Armour against frauds, business, and financial failure; could provide guidelines for solving some financial and business challenges of the country, corporate organisations and even business concerns of individuals.

“Corruption has become very endemic in the sense that people enter into positions of authority or leadership and not being selfless.

“For anybody to make an impact whether in a family, community, local government, state, or nation, that leader must be selfless. Selfless in the sense that he or she has the good of other people at the Centre of whatever action or decision he/or she wants to take.

“Corruption is a result of selfishness. People want to amass wealth that they cannot even eat because we have seen situations where people gathered billions and millions of money and put it in a safety tank and buried it. At the end of the day, some of them got bad. So of what use is such money.

“Corruption or fraud is both in the government and in the private sector as well because of selfishness and lack of integrity. But my book: ‘Internal Control in Practice: Armour against Frauds, Business, and Financial Failure; is situated within the financial services industry whose services can be regarded as the lifeblood of the economy.

“Their services are built around money and this is what everybody is looking for and some people are ready to get this money by all means. That is where fraud comes in.

“If you look at the preface to the book, I wrote that “a vehicle without good steering and braking systems lacks control and would, for certain, crash. The consequence would be serious harm/damages to lives and property”.

According to him, That is what has happened to our nation Nigeria because it is being handled without good steering and braking systems.

“Most times, lives are lost and the vehicle might become a write-off. God will not allow it. Nigeria will not be a write-off. In the same vein, business organisations or Nations without effective internal control systems along with strong proactive risk management processes in place are like moving vehicles without steering and braking systems; and they are disasters waiting to happen.

“If the principles that have been enunciated in this book are applied, both in the private and public sectors of the economy, we will be able to control the magnitude of fraud and corruption. But with proper control, management, and monitoring, some of those frauds and corruption can be nipped in the bud with the right tone from the top.

“Whether in the private sector or the public sector, if the head is rotten, the body will ultimately be rotten but if the head is sound, it will send out the right message and actions and everybody within the system will imbibe the habit of integrity or practice of monitoring and be able to safeguard the assets of the company or the nation,” he said

Ubani explained that the book is aimed at curtailing fraudulent activities and making businesses run safely and profitably, thereby perpetuating the productivity of the economy.

Explaining why he wrote the book: Breaking the Shackles of Poverty: Foundation and Building Blocks for Lasting Wealth, he said it was because he discovered from personal experience that no matter how much somebody earns, no matter the circumstances of your birth if you are determined and disciplined and you are ready to make necessary sacrifices, you can build wealth from ground zero to the top.

“While many people are poor today is simply because of a lack of discipline, to discover the information that will liberate them from poverty. People are very lazy in reading or searching for information and some people will search the information but lack the discipline to apply the information.

“In this book, there is a place I said, that for you to make effective use of the information provided in this book, there is a formula that has been provided. It is information plus action equal to wealth. So the essence of this book is to arm people with relevant information that will liberate them from poverty if they are willing to apply these pieces of information. These are universal principles.

“Everybody that has followed these principles or patterns has always come out of poverty into wealth. A principle can only work for somebody that applies it. And you cannot apply what you do not know. So there is a need for people to be disciplined and determined and be willing to apply or make use of available information to save them from poverty,” he said.

Edited by Felix Ajide