• The Almost Perfect Fraud

    Internal control plays a very important role in determining the success of organizations and companies in their various activities. Managers coming from overseas (Europe or America) to work here in Africa, encounter social integration and inter-cultural challenges in completing their work. So, in order to overcome this challenge and complete their work, some managers tend to single out one or a few of the local staff and provide them with favors as well as empower them in the organization. Empowering generally translates itself through promotions. By doing so, the managers gain the favors of the local staff which in turn help them in integrating themselves into the customs and habits of the country, this allows them to do their work without any more cultural obstacles. All of this seems to be a pretty advantageous relationship for both sides, but there is a catch to it all. The people empowered in such a fashion by muzungu, end up becoming monsters for their colleagues and mates, they even end up turning against the muzungu themselves who gave them that surplus of power. Things begin to fall apart. The Muzungu of Bewell Company in Hill country had empowered Funny, a local staff of Bewell Company. He had demonstrated some skills and abilities which led to him being considered as the only one that could guarantee the safety of the company’s business amongst all the rest of the local staff. His proud attitude coupled with his sudden rise in the company gave him confidence to claim that if he wasn’t present, there was no way the whole of Bewell Company would survive in Hill country. He was a very sly. He made a very good impression on the muzungu through his hypocrisy. He had so much power being backed by the muzungu that he began frustrating and marginalizing his colleagues who were local staff. He was considered by everyone as the only one who could validate any decision before implementation. The consequence of this was that, the vision and mission of Bewell Company in Hill country was lost. As a result, corruption became a reality, everyone was trying to get as much as they could, their own piece of the pie. An international staff from Africa was appointed to work with Funny, he became aware of the realities of the situation but failed in his attempt to do something against it. His actions even led to his banishment from Hill country. I was appointed to replace this person, and it wasn’t long before I realized how challenging it was to collaborate and work with someone who had been empowered and was fully supported from headquarters where some of its staff didn’t know or understand the reality in Hill country. Nevertheless, the situation had hope for improvement. I already knew that better segregation of duties to promote accountability at each level in organizations and companies, were good approaches for success in operations as well as to mitigate corruption and fraud. The only setback left, was for me to put in place an effective strategy to implement new policies as well as new management systems to enforce accountability. I had to empower each manager at his/her level and get managers to accept Bewell Company’s vision and approach of management. It is in this complicated environment that a fraud case appeared, may be to confuse everything and stop changes we were putting into place. Certainly, we will know the reality of what happened one day!

    5000 CFA