PWC Survey on Economic Crimes brings out Murky Results in the Middle East

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PWC’s survey on economic crimes has posed quite a big question in the Middle-eastern companies even while raising a positive trend in the region.

Price Water Coopers (PWC), the global reputed auditing firm recently conducted an international analysis about the prevalence of economic crimes in business organisations and institutions. But while concept of the analytical survey was straightforward enough, the detailed results of the same where quite complicated, colouring the topic under greyish rather than present a totally black or white picture.

The term ‘economic crime’ in itself is a broader ambit covering various sub-headings like cyber crimes, grafts, corruption and embezzlement to name a few. According to the reports of the analytical survey, while the presence of these categorisations within economic crimes has risen sharply in the world (to about 37%), in the Middle-eastern region – comprising of test subjects from around 230 organisations across nine prominent countries in the region – the percentage has decreased sharply to about 21%.

But while this may indeed seem like a trend of positivity, the downside of this statistical number is the bigger picture surrounding it. The statistical figure of 21% represents doesn’t merely represent the reduction in the percentage of economic crimes in the region, but represents the reduction in the reportage and finding of actual percentage of economic crimes committed through necessary procedures like auditing and various other forensic scrutinising processes.

In the broader context thus, this spells out to be quite a threatening gamble since economic crimes are responsible for draining a hefty chunk of most important resources in organisations. Though procedural methodologies like systematic and timely auditing, incidents and of economic criminal activities and even suspected economic criminal activities can be fished out and unearthed, allowing for greater proactive functioning and efficiency in organisations.

While the colloquial adage of criminals being two-steps ahead of the law gains notoriety across the world’s underbellies, it’s through these forensic and auditing activities that such notorious reputations are snapped off before they can cause far lingering problems and implications. Not just to the law enforcers, but also to organisations.

Speaking on the importance and relevance of forensic sciences and tools to fish out the perpetrators of such criminal acts, a senior forensic expert, Venkatesan Iyer elaborates, “Forensics is a science which helps judicial and law enforcement authorities and systems to bring the truth into the open. Towards the new millennium, it emerged that the reach of criminals was considerably widening as electronic devices, which were not widespread in their usage started to be misused more than being put to productive uses. Forensic analyses, mainly cyber forensic analyses, thus helps to fish out such acts of crime which have otherwise gone undetected and unpunished.

Mr. Iyer also emphasises the need for application and utilisation of forensic science tools in the corporate sector alongside its need in a country’s judicial system. “In my opinion, forensic sciences are essential to every corporate organisation. Corporates do conduct periodic audits, but it has often been seen that those who engage in underhanded activities, do find out ways to hoodwink even the most stringently conducted audit processes. Forensic science tools however will empower organisations and corporates better and enable them to prevent grave losses”, he points out, concluding the discussion.

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