An investigation into the causes and characteristics of fraud in Kenyan SACCOs and whether Benford's Law can be used to detect fraud in the accounting data
Kamau, Evans Njoroge
MetadataShow full item record
Financial statement fraud is a significant threat facing the survival of the co-operative movement in Kenya. The threat has led to a number of amendments to the Co-operative Societies Act of 1997. The Sacco Societies Regulatory Authority (SASRA) is a Semi- Autonomous Government Agency inaugurated in 2009 charged with the prime responsibility to license and supervise deposit taking Sacco Societies in Kenya. However, fraud continues to appear in the media despite inspections of co-operative societies sanctioned and carried out by the regulator. Owing to numerous cases of fraud that occur in SACCOs, there is a need for measures to detect fraud in order to ensure the sustainability of this sector of the economy. The financial ratios currently computed by SACCOs in Kenya might not assist users of the financial reports to detect fraudulent financial reports. Extra efforts are therefore needed to unearth fraud in SACCOs. This study seeks to investigate the applicability of Benford’s Law to detect fraud in accounting data. Benford`s Law is a statistical tool used to test evidence of human bias and data manipulation. The study attempts to help auditors in their investigation of fraudulent activities in this crucial sector. Two sets of secondary data were used to test whether Benford’s Law could be used to detect fraud in SACCOs. The first set consisted of data from SACCOs with fraud while the second set consisted of SACCOs without fraud. Percentages were used to analyze the first digit of all the line items of the balance sheet, the statement of changes in equity, the income statements, the appropriation account, the cash flow statement, disclosures and notes in the financial statements per SACCO was binned into nine bins of 1 to 9. Chi-Square test statistic was also used to determine the goodness of fit between Benford’s Law and the SACCO transactional level data at 5% confidence level. The first digit entries for SACCOs with fraud partially followed Benford’s Law for both SACCOs with and without fraud. Benford’s Law can therefore be used detect fraud in fraudulent financial statements in Kenyan SACCOs.