Is your attitude a smoke screen for fraud?

Certain behaviour of some managers is intended to scare off staff from asking the right questions about   what is happening.  Some managers are quarrelsome or behave in away intended to keep staff away   from them. Staff can only approach them if they are looking for problems.  The   behaviour may be intended to divert the focus of staff   to other areas other than those areas where frauds or immoral activities have taken place or may be taking place. There is also the habit of reporting for work too late and working late into the night.  What activities is someone doing when all staff have gone home?  It is important to note that not everyone who works late into the night is committed to the organisation.

What is your attitude towards organisation’s values?

What is your mind- set on values and moral issues? Are you inclined more at setting the right moral tone at the top? Do you live the values? Do you spend all your time doing what is right even if people are not looking at you? I have seen people celebrating because they receive appointment letters to ‘wet positions’ (positions with a lot of cash for procurements) where they are anticipating   opportunities for making money for personal benefit   at the expense of the organisation. Your attitude towards moral behaviour will either improve or mess up the cultural values of the organisation.

Are you arrogant?                       

Arrogancy relates to a situation where one is displaying a picture of self-importance.  Some people believe that they are so superior to the extent they can break any guidelines in the organisation and no one will raise a finger. These types of people will always remind you that they were the best in class, they come from the best families, they live in best places, they drive best cars and therefore no one should ask them anything as they know what they are doing. These are the type of people who use the organisation’s resources without caring about anything as the world rotates around them. They use the organisation’s resources without following laid down procedures.  When any one asks them about the procedures, they will rubbish the procedures as being useless.

Do you make life very complicated for every one?

There are some people who make life very complicated for everyone except themselves. They may call a meeting at 5 am and may even order staff to work at awkward hours in order to demonstrate their power. I have been to an organisation where everyone stands when the boss is arriving. The boss wants to be treated as a president in the organisation. They set up complicated procedures and rules which are difficult to interpret.  They set up complicated group structures which do not make business sense. The organisation structures and reporting relationships are so complicated. They create so many approvals which   serve no purpose.  What on earth should someone complicate life for everyone except himself or herself if it is not for personal gain?

Why should someone create a weak control environment?

I remember when I was still an auditor a certain CEO hated the reports of both internal and external auditors. The CEO did not want to see any letter of improvement and internal auditors’ report.  The CEO always thought that the external and internal auditors’ reports would make him loose his job. It took time for me to convince him to accept our reports and those of the internal auditors.  I guess the CEO accepted because we had threatened to resign if he didn’t give us the freedom to do our work. During the audit   planning we came to learn the members of management team kept bad news on internal controls away from the CEO to avoid quarrels and harassment.  The CEO only came to realise the importance of the issues we were raising when his   organisation was hit by a series of frauds in areas of exposures we pointed out in our letter of improvement. This did not prevent him from saying that we brought bad omen to the organisation.

Do you keep a lot of back log?

I am sure you have been to some people’s offices and found piles of files on their tables. To be received   in the office, the secretary is quickly called in to clear files from visitors’ chairs. Why should somebody keep so much work backlog?  One could say the person is either lazy or there is something funny going on. The files could also most likely relate to none-transparent transactions. The files are not available for general circulation.


John Muhaise Bikalemesa

Director: Big Drum Advisory Services Limited