Enhancing Skills to Combat Corruption in the Philippines: Forensic Accounting Training for the Office of the Ombudsman

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Manila (Philippines), 29-31 May 2023 - The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) conducted a Forensic Accounting Training Course for the Office of the Ombudsman of the Philippines. Held from 29 to 31 May 2023, the training program aimed to equip participants with the necessary knowledge, skills, and tools to effectively utilize forensic accounting techniques in combating corruption and financial crimes.

In Southeast Asia, which is characterized by rapid economic growth and increasing foreign direct investment, sustainable development is hampered by shortcomings in criminal justice systems, lack of transparency, and corruption in the public sector. These factors hinder progress and exacerbate transnational organized crimes such as drug trafficking, human trafficking, and terrorism. UNODC recognizes the critical need to strengthen the capacities of anti-corruption agencies and law enforcement authorities to address these issues by investigating corruption cases and tracing illicit financial flows. As the primary anti-corruption institution in the Philippines, the Office of the Ombudsman plays a pivotal role in promoting accountability, transparency, and integrity in the public sector.

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The three-day training program was attended by 36 investigators and prosecutors from the Office of the Ombudsman. The course delved into various aspects of forensic accounting, including accounting principles, financial statement analysis, identifying irregularities, and tracing illicit financial flows. Throughout the training, participants were exposed to real-world scenarios, providing them with practical insights and hands-on experience in dealing with complex financial investigations.

A resounding 100% of participants expressed being very highly or highly satisfied with the training and the overall course content. Moreover, the average test scores increased by an impressive 61.40% from the pre-test to the post-test, reflecting the participants' enhanced understanding and proficiency in forensic accounting. The Office of the Ombudsman stands to reap substantial long-term benefits from the acquired knowledge, skills, and techniques. Equipped with these invaluable tools, participants in the trainings will be able to spearhead more effective investigations and swiftly uncover financial irregularities. These enhanced capabilities empower the Office to tackle financial crimes, fortifying its steadfast commitment to combating corruption and preserving justice. The UNODC will follow up on this activity with additional trainings and capacity development initiatives involving the Ombudsman as well as other law enforcement authorities in the Philippines.

This initiative was part of activities funded by the Kingdom of Denmark.

Other Useful Links:

  • A description of a Roundtable Discussion on Asset Recovery held in the Philippines in April 2023 can be found here.
  • A summary of a Roundtable Discussion on Public Procurement Fraud held in the Philippines in April 2023 can be found here.
  • A description of the launch of the Professional Code of Ethics and Responsibility (CPRA) for lawyers held in the Philippines in May 2023 can be found here.