Gulf Resources, Calgary, Alberta

Oil and Gas

Oil Producing Bribes

When a company’s management retains a forensic accountant to meet vendors regarding rumors of kickbacks, it obviously starts a lot of behind the scene movement between the payor and the payee when there is substance to the allegation. The phrase that describes such activity is simply actions not in the normal course of business, which can be reflected in both the personal and business relationships. For the forensic accountant, the question is whether or not a bad apple exists and the first challenge is to maintain the purity of both organizations.

I consider this challenge to be an ultimate test of professionalism because in the end there may not be a bad apple and everyone you touch during the investigation will work together after you depart. Ideally you could be Jasper the ghost, but then that might be too scary, so play the role of accountant, very conservative and most non-offensive. In fact, being a ‘green-eye shade’ accountant is a distinct advantage in the investigative role. Now, it is time to meet the vendor and request access to his books and records, a true test of the right to audit access clause. I am neutral, if he says no he could loose his client’s business and if he says yes he could loose his client’s business. He provides the records and I find the payments. Now, he alleges extortion. Point is the process is not unique; it is part of the knowledge of fraud, with each case different yet, in many ways, the same. It is human nature at its worst.