Forensic engagements involve a thorough examination of pertinent documents initiated to prove or disprove that a crime has been or is being committed. A Forensic investigation involves studying all the subject’s financial transactions over a specified period for signs / evidence of wrong-doing.
A forensic audit can be initiated for a number of reasons – including in response to the presence of ‘red flags’ identified in a normal audit of a sector, budgetary body or project and or due to allegations of fraud or corruption arising in a sector, budgetary body or project. A forensic audit will be used to identify specific transactions and quantify those transactions and may lead to a full investigation especially if evidence of fraud or corruption is subsequently confirmed.
Each oversight agency has slightly different mandates and powers to conduct forensic audits. Internal Auditor General Department is normally given a mandate to conduct a forensic audit under the instruction of the Cabinet Secretary or the Principal Secretary, National Treasury. Forensic audit requests may also be generated by agencies such as the Financial Reporting Centre, Controller of the Budget, Commission in Revenue Allocation, National Assembly and Senate.