Criminals have become sophisticated and shrewd, requiring police officers to continuously upgrade their skills in order to deal with them, Diploma in Forensic Accounting graduates were reminded on Friday.
Twenty-four men and women, 18 of whom are members of the Zimbabwe Republic Police, graduated and were presented with the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators in Zimbabwe (ICSAZ) Diploma in Forensic Accounting.
“Criminals have become sophisticated and you need to continuously upgrade yourselves and avoid trailing behind them,” ICSAZ president Taona Munzvandi told them.
Police commissioner-general Godwin Matanga, who was guest of honour at the graduation, made a similar point.
He said criminals had become shrewd. He urged the graduates not to tire of continuing to sharpen their skills.
The ICSAZ Diploma in Forensic Accounting is one of the professional qualifications that are equipping members of the police force with the requisite forensic accounting skills, he said.
“Those who choose the path of commercial crime should be advised that it is no longer business as usual,” he said.
He was confident that the course had deepened participants’ knowledge and skills. It would help them, among other things, in investigating tax evasion. Attainment of the national goal of becoming an upper-middle-income society by 2030 demanded the plugging of leakages in revenue through tax evasion, he said.
He said that in addition to its partnership with ICSAZ for training officers in forensic accounting, the ZRP had a relationship with three local universities and envisaged attaching some of its members to other police forces in the international arena.
He said a good number of men and women seemed to have a growing affinity for crime. It was sad, he said, to know that the harsh economic environment was resulting in people turning to pyramid schemes.
“We shall embark on heightened awareness campaigns to educate the public not to fall victim to these Ponzi schemes,” he said.
Mr Munzvandi said ICSAZ was working on establishing a Higher Diploma in Forensic Accounting.
He said he was sure the officers who attended the Diploma in Forensic Accounting course would agree that they were no longer the same as when they commenced the course.
“This is your chance to move from being essential to indispensable. You must be ready to put into practice many of the key principles and experience you have gained to demonstrate your worthiness,” he said.
In his welcoming remarks, ICSAZ chief executive and secretary Lovemore Gomera said what might be astonishing and disappointing for most people was the fact that some of the most outrageous financial crimes and security frauds have occurred at institutions with seemingly robust compliance programs, at least on paper.
“They have occurred not at fly-by-night outfits but at prominent and powerful companies and in government departments and they have been enabled and perpetrated by the highest-flying managers and executives in these institutions.
“We have witnessed the most educated, successful and monied professionals in the country put their companies, not to mention their own liberty, at risk by engaging in flagrant and foolhardy illegal conduct,” he said.
He told the graduates that they had been equipped with forensic accounting knowledge and techniques that would help crime fighting arms of government and institutions such as the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission, with which ICSAZ had recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding, the National Prosecuting Authority and the Zimbabwe Republic Police to scientifically gather and formulate credible evidence that leads to a conviction.
“I dare say the days of perpetrators walking off scot-free due to lack of substantial evidence of a financial nature are fast running out,” he said.
The Diploma in Forensic Accounting was launched by ICSAZ in 2017. Friday’s graduation was the fifth DFA graduation since then. The course takes 18 months.