Commercial crime under the spotlight

September 2002 Security Services & Risk Management

The consolidation of SAPS commercial crime squads into effective regional units will have a considerable impact on white-collar crime countrywide. Deputy national commissioner Louis Eloff said these units would specialise in more complex and potentially damaging crimes.

"This is not to say that smaller cases of fraud will not be adequately attended to. There is enough expertise to deal with issues such as forged and fraudulent cheques and other cases of fraud within SAPS to ensure that all cases are handled effectively. If necessary, difficult cases can be escalated to the specialised units." He said the new specialised units would be staffed according to the amount of white-collar crime in specific regions.

Tom Bouwer, who heads up the Business Against Crime commercial crime project, said consolidation of commercial crime squads into more effective regional units would go a long way to regaining control of white-collar crime. "There is no question that it is a very serious problem. At present, more than R40 bn a year is being siphoned off the economy by white-collar criminals - more than is being earned by the entire tourism industry. In addition, we have lost considerable amounts due to foreign investment not happening at the scale that we need to create jobs."

Howard Griffiths, managing director of private investigations company Griffiths and Associates, said white-collar crime had become a serious threat to the economy. "Based on our experience, I believe we need more and better trained commercial crime specialists in the South African Police Service, which the present restructuring seems to address." Responding to the latest KMPG fraud survey, which for the first time included the public sector, he said the massive 13% leap in employee fraud reported since the last survey in 1999, probably erred on the conservative side. "Every single one of our clients are reporting figures much higher than this and it was for that reason that we established a separate division of the company to address the problem." Griffiths said their experience had shown that as much as 70% of employees in some businesses acted dishonestly often leading to the demise of their companies.

While technology has been touted as the ultimate solution for putting a stop to commercial crime through new and improved computer systems, it has in fact become a two-edged sword, Griffiths said. "Despite all the safeguards in use today, computers have made it a lot easier for highly skilled computer experts to commit fraud on a gargantuan scale compared to their forebears who had to cook the books with pen and ink. "Through techniques such as rounding off small amounts to the nearest cent or five cents and diverting the proceeds to a bogus bank account, billions have been skimmed off the accounts on unsuspecting bank account holders."

He conceded that banks and other financial institutions had tightened up on accounting procedures but he said evidence uncovered by his investigators showed that fraud in general was still being committed on a massive scale. "The thieves are getting smarter and unless we can oppose them on an equal and level playing field, business is going to lose out," he concludes.

For more information: Howard Griffiths, Griffiths and Associates, 011 786 8556, or Tom Bouwer, Business Against Crime, 011 883 0717.




Share this article:
Share via emailShare via LinkedInPrint this page



Further reading:

Where are your crown jewels?
June 2019, Wolfpack Information Risk , Commercial (Industry), Cyber Security, Security Services & Risk Management
Understanding what data they store and analyse is gaining increasing urgency for organisations that are now accountable to new(ish) privacy regulations such as the GDPR and our PoPIA.

Read more...
Changing of the guard, AI style
June 2019, Active Track, Technews Publishing , Integrated Solutions, Security Services & Risk Management
Active Track is launching a raft of new AI-based products and services with which it intends to turn the security world as we know it on its head.

Read more...
Partnership to reduce farm violence and agricultural crime
June 2019, Fidelity ADT Security , News, Security Services & Risk Management, Agriculture (Industry)
Agri SA has partnered with Fidelity ADT, a subsidiary of the Fidelity Services Group, to offer a range of services and products to its members and the rural community.

Read more...
The safest way to pay
June 2019 , Security Services & Risk Management, Financial (Industry)
Establishing a relationship of mutual trust between a bank and a customer is crucial. It creates a secure foundation, while giving customers the confidence to engage without security concerns.

Read more...
Password awareness critical
June 2019, Kaspersky Lab , Cyber Security, Security Services & Risk Management
A recent study revealed that digital identity data and information holds significant value to cybercriminals – who craft ways of gaining this data and exploit it on the dark Web for as little as $50.

Read more...
Fully automated cash logistics
June 2019 , News, Security Services & Risk Management
Cash management company, Izicash, announced its adoption of Transtrack, a software solution, supported by a South African company, AllCash, which streamlines the cash logistics process.

Read more...
Throwing the book at qualification fraud
June 2019, LexisNexis , News, Security Services & Risk Management
Until now, qualification fraud has not been punishable by law. However, this is set to change with the introduction of the National Qualifications Amendment Bill.

Read more...
Taking radio communications forward
June 2019 , Commercial (Industry), Security Services & Risk Management
With the new digital format, radios have redefined the mobile two-way radio communication by now offering you communication anywhere, over any distance.

Read more...
KYD: Know Your Data
June 2019, Technews Publishing , IT infrastructure, Security Services & Risk Management
Organisations need to know what information they have, why they collected it, and they need to adhere to regulations about how long they can or must keep it before deleting it.

Read more...
The importance of BC and DR
June 2019 , IT infrastructure, Security Services & Risk Management
Organisations need to realise that business continuity and disaster recovery entail entirely different strategies with both being vital to keeping a business operational.

Read more...