Whistleblowers have reported more than 40 percent of employees' misconduct, according to the 2014 annual report of Association of Certified Fraud Examiners. They either keep their name anonymous - 80 percent of whistleblowers are anonymous, or leave their actual names in the reports with contact information (including email address) – which enables us to contact the whistleblower and ask questions in the course of the investigation. However, it is hard to carry out an investigation if the whistleblower remains anonymous. Therefore, the audit team may not conduct an investigation in a proper manner, or may consider the whistleblower's information misleading, resulting in possible negative effects on the engagement company ("company").
Most of the whistleblower reports that I have encountered in my 16 years of investigations of possible illegal activities were anonymous reports, as a whistleblower takes risks to report a company's misconduct, including exposure of himself / herself, the possible defamation of the subject person, and the possibility of calumny. The internal audit team should not ignore whistleblowers' reports. Even though it is an anonymous whistleblower's report, we have to investigate as thoroughly as we could to identify any wrongdoing.
If a whistleblower reports that a person who is in charge of a company's purchasing business receives bribes from the company's supplier, and does not include detailed and specific information, it will be difficult to conduct the investigation. We recommend the following methods to verify the whistleblower reports.
First, identify the fraud type and fraud scheme, which the whistleblower may mention in the report. In addition, it is important to check the company domain, financial reports and accounting data, evaluation reports, third parties (customers and suppliers), and master information (vendor and material database and human resources database).
We should identify key persons or senior managers who are involved in any improper transaction to collect and identify information related to fraud scheme, and review information pertaining to their activities, including company credit card payment records, attendance records, office log data, correspondence information (phone records and email database), data stored on alleged persons' computers, information devices and other relevant persons' devices. These types of information determine the investigation scope.
Financial stress is widely recognized as one of the key reasons why people commit fraud. Some people commit fraud for other, pathological, reasons, but these are small in number and not typically the kind of fraudsters we deal with daily.
However employees and suppliers who have had a long and trusted relationship with you may feel added pressures when there are dark clouds on the horizon. Presently with the price of oil, coal and other minerals at recent record low, many Resources and Energy Sector employers are looking to reduce costs to help mitigate any potential losses. Orders are down, inventories are being reduced, payment cycles are increasing; there is generally a greater level of uncertainty right now.
Your staff and suppliers may feel their position with you is threatened and start to worry about their short to medium term future. At the same time your staff and suppliers are seeking their cost of living and business costs increasing, with little they can do about it.
It is at exactly these times of economic uncertainty that your staff and suppliers will start to feel increased stress about how they will meet their own financial obligations. For many it is a lifestyle issue, for others it really is a matter of survival. Committing fraud is often seen as the only way.Stressors
Your staff will worry about how to pay their rent, mortgage, car lease, school fees, medical bills, a wedding perhaps and even how they will take that much longed for overseas holiday. Your suppliers will worry about how to pay their own staff, rent, creditors as well as their personal expenses which will not be reduced at all. These stresses can cause otherwise logical, and dishonest decisions.
Censere Group announces the launch of Ausus Advisory, a dedicated risk advisory group.
Ausus Advisory was formerly the forensic accounting and investigations division of Censere Group. In order to better position the team and provide an expanded range of services dedicated to risk advisory, we have launched Ausus Advisory. Expanded services incorporate those of our channel partners, Chorus Consulting LLC and SPS Global Ltd. The combined service offering now covers all aspects of risk including:
Fraud and corruption riskCyber and IT riskPersonal riskPhysical riskPolitical risk
Ausus Advisory is still very much part of Censere Group and benefits from the significant office network and human resources that can be brought to bear in any situation. We look forward to working with you and helping to protect and enhance your business.
Censere Group now comprises Censere, Stratiqa and Ausus Advisory, with a combined office network of 21 locations and 140+ consultants. Together with our channel partners we work seamlessly across the globe and in every business sector.
Stratiqa is pleased to announce that we have established a second office in Asia with the opening of an office in Hong Kong.
Brett Shadbolt, CEO of Stratiqa and Censere Group, stated "Hong Kong is a major financial centre in Asia and together with our offices in New York, San Francisco and Singapore is a welcome addition to the Stratiqa network. We look forward to working with clients in North Asia from our new office in Hong Kong. As part of Censere Group, Stratiqa has access to the considerable resources of Censere's dedicated network, currently extending to 16 locations across Asia and the United States, or 20 locations including Stratiqa."
Contact details for our Hong Kong office can be found here.
In Thailand, the National Anti-Corruption Commission (the "NACC") has funded and organized, The Museum of Thai Corruption (the "Museum"), which is a roaming museum to raise the awareness of fraud and corruption in Thailand.
The Museum showcases ten major alleged cases in Thailand over the last 15 years which includes: the rice subsidy scheme (in more detail below), corruption in the construction of 396 police stations, Raisom media corruption case, Bangkok film festival bribery case, Khlong Daan waste water management corruption case, the construction of low quality footsal stadium,unusual richness case against a former Transport Ministry permanent secretary, the case of imported luxury cars for Thailand's grey market, dried longan subsidy scheme and the advertising billboard above police boxes case.
The ten alleged corruption cases are represented through modern sculptures with easy-to-understand descriptions. The museum is located at the NACC offices at 361 Nonthaburi Rd, Mueang District, Nonthaburi 11000.
The rice subsidy scheme in further detail....
The rice subsidy scheme was supposed to help Thai rice farmers to earn more revenue and was launched by former Prime Minister Ms Yingluck Shinawatra in 2011. The purpose of this scheme was to buy rice from Thai farmers at a price around 50 percent above the prevailing world market price and stockpile the rice in order to force up the global price. The government was unable to sell the rice at the promised high price which left thousands of farmers unpaid.
Stratiqa has won the AI Intellectual Property Award for "Best IP Consultancy Firm - Asia Pacific & Sustained Excellence in IP Valuations - Asia Pacific". This comes only months after Censere and Stratiqa merged their respective IP practices, and is a testament to the quality work and client focus that Stratiqa has become known for.
"We are proud of the recognition that Stratiqa is receiving and will strive to ensure our work remains of the highest quality"Brett Shadbolt, CEO Censere Group
"IP Valuation is one of the more difficult asset classes to value and we bring considerable experience and dedication to the task"Matthew Katzeff, Director North America, Stratiqa
Stratiqa is a member of Censere Group and undertakes complex and contentious valuation assignments for mergers, acquisitions and dispute resolution work in addition to IP Valuation and consulting services.
As the middle class grows in emerging markets, with greater disposable income, travelling for leisure is becoming a natural aspiration for many. To meet this demand, expanding hotel chains in emerging markets are not only targeting western clients, but also aiming at enhanced brand awareness and loyalty among the local population who are expected to drive future growth.
Malaysian Global Innovation & Creativity Centre (MaGIC) Central and ASEAN Centre for Entrepreneurship (ACE), both Malaysian Government funded agencies, organised an 'Open Day' event on 29 February 2016 at CyberJaya, Malaysia for entrepreneurs and start-ups to seek help and guidance from various Government Agencies and the partners of MaGIC and ACE.
30 Government Agencies and partners as well as 180 entrepreneurs and start-ups attended the Open Day making it a very successful event.
Censere participated as one of partners of ACE and provided information and guidance to a number of participants on valuation matters as well as funding options available to entrepreneurs and start-ups in Malaysia as well as in the Asia Pacific region. Tan Sri Dr. Irwan, Chairman of MaGIC and Secretary General of Treasury, Ministry of Finance (MOF) thanked Censere for its participation and guidance to the participants on the day.
For immediate releaseStratiqa Inc. Merges with Censere Group
With immediate effect, Censere Group and Stratiqa Inc. have merged their respective businesses. The combined group will initially have 18 offices across three continents and will offer an expanded range of services to better serve clients. Brett Shadbolt, CEO of Censere and the combined group, stated "This is a significant development for Censere. Through Stratiqa we now have a dedicated premium service provider which complements Censere's existing valuation and advisory services. It significantly expands our capabilities in North America and we are sure our Asian clients will benefit from the expanded range of services.”
At the same time, Matthew Katzeff has joined Stratiqa Inc. as a Director. Matthew is based in Stratiqa's New York office and oversees Stratiqa's business in North America and beyond. Since beginning his career at the Blackstone Group, Matthew has developed a highly successful career predominantly focused upon Mergers & Acquisitions and strategic advisory, Fairness Opinions and Valuations. In addition, he has significant experience both in the US as well as Asia. Speaking of the merger, Matthew commented "I am very excited to be part of the expanded group. Many of Stratiqa's clients either have, or are contemplating, acquisitions or expansion in Asia. Censere's existing network of 13 offices across Asia and Oceania is the ideal platform to extend Stratiqa's reach into these markets, while also providing expanded coverage to Censere's clients in the US."
Stratiqa will continue to operate under its own brand as a member of Censere Group and remains focused on delivering complex valuation services such as fairness opinions, expert witness opinions and strategic advisory. Censere will provide local market support to Stratiqa throughout Asia and Oceania and will benefit from Stratiqa's existing presence in New York and San Francisco. Stratiqa has also recently established an office in Singapore and will continue to build this as its first office in Asia for premium valuation services.
The merger of Censere and Stratiqa comes within 12 months of Censere's entry into the US market. Zaid Sultan, Director - Censere Houston said "The combination of Censere's existing offices in Houston and Washington DC, together with Stratiqa's offices in New York and San Francisco, greatly expands our North American reach. This will undoubtedly benefit clients in the long run."
We are very pleased to announce our first office outside the United States. Effective immediately Stratiqa has established an office in Singapore to better serve the needs of our US clients in the Far East and our Asian based clients investing into the US.
Contact details for our Singapore office can be found here.
We look forward to working with our clients on both Asia bound and Asia sourced transactions through our Singapore office.