Wiping Corporate Fraud Via Whistleblowers And SEC in Africa

Wiping Corporate Fraud Via Whistleblowers And SEC in Africa

To strengthen corporate governance, especially in public traded companies, it may be time African Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) or equivalents implement similar policies that their US counterpart has: Rewarding whistleblowers that bring to notice of the SEC corporate corruption and fraud.

US SEC used to give such whistleblowers 10% of any fine, but has increased it to 30% of all the money SEC collects, including ill-gotten profits. The increase was affected in the last US Financial Regulation Bill.

The challenge is that many SEC offices in Africa are not ready to actually use technology to mine data which could pile up if they introduce this policy. And there is fear that disgruntled ex-employees will intentionally file unfounded accusations just to force their ex-employers to waste money through legal fees.

Notwithstanding the drawbacks, this is a very important way to pursue since many African public firms have collapsed not because of environmental competition, rather corporate governance.  The near collapse of Nigerian banking sector was heavily due to the governance of the affected banks with bosses spending company funds irresponsibly. Could a deal with SEC that rewards whistleblowers have averted this? Possibly.

Also the destruction that took place in Transcorp could have been averted as the accountant might have reported the CEO who was forging documents and awarding contracts to his cronies in time. The motivation of being rewarded could become a potent tool in the hands of governments to sanitize African business scene and put public companies on alert to act responsibly or be penalized.

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