74% of MidEast economic crime committed by staff, says PwC

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Nearly three-quarters of all economic crime committed in the Middle East during the past two years was committed by company employees, according to PwC’s Global Economic Crime Survey.

Survey results showed that despite the region’s efforts to combat economic crime, there has been no clear indication that levels in the Middle East or globally have decreased.

Economic crime remains as tough to tackle as it’s ever been, PwC said during a recent conference in Dubai.

Although 65 percent of the survey’s respondents cited “opportunity” as the biggest factor driving crimes committed by employees, 40 percent of respondents indicated that their organisations have never performed a fraud risk assessment.

The survey showed that the four most commonly reported types of economic crime are “asset misappropriation” (49 percent), “procurement fraud” (16 percent), “bribery and corruption” (15 percent) and “cybercrime” (12 percent).

It added that although 72 percent of respondents indicated that their perception of the risk of cybercrime in their organisation has increased over the last 24 months, 44 percent reported that their organisation restructured or reorganised departments responsible for governance and compliance as a measure implemented in the last 24 months to address increased regulatory expectations.

While the UAE is ranked first among the Gulf countries on Transparency International Corruption Perception Index, continuous efforts to fight fraud and corruption still need to be made to further improve the ranking across other countries, PwC said.

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Nick Robinson, PwC Middle East partner and forensic services leader said: “Economic crime continues to adversely affect organisations across the region, as awareness grows organisations will be judged on how they react and respond to instances.”

Abdul Qader Obeid Ali, chairman of the UAE Audit Association added: “We are all aware that economic crime is not just a global problem but also a major issue that we are facing in the Middle East. We are all requested to engage in the efforts to mitigate economic crime as well as investigate it.”

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