The Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption (FICAC) launched the inaugural Financial Investigations Training (FIT) on 02 May 2022 to forty (40) participants from various public and private sector institutions.
As part of FICAC’s mandate, the Financial Investigations Training was offered to interested individuals and organisations to strengthen their battle against financial crimes.
The Financial Investigations Training is also one of the many programs that will be launched by the Commission in commemorating its 15th anniversary.
Speaking at the official opening, Commissioner Mr. Rashmi Aslam stated that FICAC was established with a clear mandate to eradicate corruption in Fiji and empower the public and private agencies to fight corruption.
“At this juncture, we are ready to share our knowledge and experience of investigating financial crimes with other agencies, who will now join us to fight corruption by taking part in this training,” said Mr. Aslam.
“Needless to say, the occurrences of financial crimes are a serious concern for any organisation both in public and private sectors. And it could severely impact the profitability of the organisation. It breeds rapidly if the organisation is not perpetuating a transparent and accountable working culture. It erodes the public and investors’ confidence. Protecting the organisation’s reputation is all about protecting its business and vice versa,” added Mr. Aslam.
Mr. Aslam stated that since its establishment, FICAC has witnessed many financial crimes gone undetected for a prolonged period and there is also an influx of request received by FICAC from various organisations to conduct similar trainings to its employees.
“Detecting and investigating financial crimes is a challenge that requires special set of skills. The training provides a pragmatic insight into the insight into the intricacies of financial crime investigations,” said Mr. Aslam.
“The segments of the training are coherently aligned to cover the essentials of financial investigations such as detecting the crime, collating direct and circumstantial evidence through witnesses and documents, analysing the evidence, understanding the nuances of criminal liabilities via reasonable inferences, preparation of investigation reports with recommendations to prevent and mitigate future occurrences of financial crimes within an organisation, and providing credible evidence, testimonies in court of law,” added Mr. Aslam.
In his keynote address, Chief Guest, His Lordship Chief Justice Kamal Kumar stated that financial crime is one of the greatest threats in the global economy and though there has been rapid development in technology to improve the wellbeing of citizen, certain technologies are now being used to conduct fraudulent financial transactions more efficiently and expeditiously.
“Financial crimes certainly affect the ordinary lives of the people including us in Fiji and the successful operation of businesses both in public and private sectors. Therefore, we cannot solely rely on FICAC or our Police Force to fight these evil occurrences. What is required, is a holistic response, involving the whole of society including FICAC, Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, Fiji Police Force, Government institutions and the private sector,” said Chief Justice Kamal Kumar.
Chief Justice stated that training such as the Financial Investigations Training aims at enhancing the capacity of public and private sectors in timely detection and investigation of financial crimes which is crucial in disrupting the extension of the crime, preventing any further loss of funds and bring the responsible persons before the Court of Law.
The Chief Justice further stated that conducting financial investigation is a specialized work which is time consuming and requires specialized skills to investigate the matters diligently. “Very often complex financial crimes entail voluminous documents we all know; it might take months and sometimes years to complete a complex investigation. But the Courts do not have the luxury of sitting on one case for months or years however complex the case may be,” said Chief Justice.
“Therefore, presenting a complex financial crime case in Court of Law essentially requires a robust strategy, eliciting the evidence collated in a complex financial crime in a coherent and precise manner is key to successful delivery of justice in Courts. This couldn’t be achievement without the benefit of the evidence given by a skilful financial investigator. Such evidence is pivotal in the delivery of justice,” added Chief Justice.
The modules of the training are aligned to the law enforcement standards to which the Chief Justice encouraged the participants to be attentive especially on the topics focusing on the Constitutional rights of a persons subjected to an investigation.
“The inclusion of legal topics such as understanding the offences relating to financial crimes and the rights of suspects under the Bill of Rights Provision in 2013 Constitution is particularly very important”, stated Chief Justice.
“Treating suspects with respect, dignity and professionalism will always be a strength as a financial investigator. It’ll also bring a strong determining factor to the credibility of your investigations,” added Chief Justice.
The Chief Justice thanked the Commissioner Mr. Aslam and the FICAC Management for its leadership, vision and commitment in initiating the training. Chief Justice also congratulated the Commission on celebrating its 15th anniversary stating that the work it has done is invaluable to Fiji.
The Chief Justice officially declared the opening of FICAC’s inaugural Financial Investigations Training and wished the participants a fruitful and successful training.
The Financial Investigations Training ran from 02 to 07 May 2022 in Suva.