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2 December 2012 | Adam Leach
The number of incidents and money lost through fraud and corruption in Africa dropped over the second half of 2012, while damage inflicted on governments has increased, according to KPMG.
The African Fraud Barometer, published this week, found that the impact of illegal activity has dropped since last year, both in terms of prevalence and value. Compared with the first six months of 2012, the number of individual cases decreased from 520 to 503, while the overall value dropped $3.3 billion (£2.1 billion) to $2 billion (£1.2 billion).
Of the fraud that was committed, bribery and corruption was identified as a particularly prevalent form, there were also multiple cases of payroll and procurement fraud recorded.
While corrupt activity has declined overall, damage inflicted on governments has increased. The number of cases where a government was on the receiving end increased by 1 per cent to 38 per cent. Further, it found a number of cases where government officials were the perpetrators of fraud – the first time they’ve recorded this. Petrus Marais, global leader of forensics at KPMG and author of the study, said: “We are asking ourselves about the extent of prosecution of fraudulent government officials. This would depend on whether the respective legislation to prosecute fraud is in place and the capacity to implement the laws exists.”
The study, which is based on figures from countries across the continent, found South Africa had the highest number of reported fraud cases. It suggested this was because transparency was higher. “A vigilant media is particularly in South Africa contributing to the reporting of fraud and corruption cases,” the report said.