Sunday 24, January 2016

Dubai – MENA Herald: PwC hosted its latest Fraud Forum this week giving UAE business leaders a valuable opportunity to meet with local and regional experts on the subject of managing conflicts of interest.

In PwC’s Global Economic Crime Survey 2014, a significant level of procurement fraud was reported in UAE. It identified that 41% of companies surveyed in UAE had suffered from fraud in their procurement processes, which is significantly above the Middle East regional results of 33% and the global average of 29%.

Majority of respondents indicated that despite the tender processes employed, fraud was most likely to occur in the bid tendering or vendor selection stages. Conflicts of interest are often at the centre of these frauds and can be mitigated against.

Whilst it is notoriously difficult to draw a clear link between conflicts of interest and these frauds, the experts and attendees acknowledged the real risk of loss due to unmanaged or undisclosed conflicts of interest between their own staff and other parties, such as suppliers.

During the forum, the attendees heard about the latest trends in defining conflicts of interest and their impact, the layered approach to risk mitigation, the key components of effective conflict management and the next steps on what to do. In addition, attendees heard from PwC experts on the variety of sophisticated tools available to them to identify potential conflicts.

Courtenay Smith, PwC Middle East Corporate Intelligence Leader added: “In this day and age, technology is an integral part of identifying conflicts of interest. Specialised tools enable companies to collate large amounts of data on third parties and individuals to identify connections which have not been declared. Coupling this with comprehensive policies and procedures, and companies will be well placed to mitigate the risk conflicts and manage them when they do occur.”

James Tebbs, PwC’s Financial Crime leader said: “It will be interesting to see what the 2016 Global Economic Crime Survey results reveal in just over a month’s time, and whether the UAE has tightened its figures around fraud suffered in the procurement processes.”

The PwC Fraud Forum is a platform through which attendees can share knowledge and participate in research to help prevent, detect and investigate fraud and economic crime in all its forms. Participants receive technical updates on fraud prevention and detection issues as well as having the opportunity to meet periodically with other PwC Fraud Forum members to exchange knowledge, ideas and experiences.

Attendees at the event included C-suite executives, compliance professionals, key individuals from UAE’s leading organisations and further specialists from PwC’s Financial Crime practice.