ACFE and ADAA bring regional fraud conference to Abu Dhabi

Hundreds of anti-fraud professionals will gather at the 2018 ACFE Fraud Conference Middle East, Feb. 25-27 hosted at Jumeirah at Etihad Towers by the ACFE and Abu Dhabi Accountability Authority (ADAA).

His Excellency Hamad Mohammad Al Hurr Al Suwaidi, chairman of ADAA, highlighted the importance of the conference in encouraging the exchange of knowledge, experience and best practices to help combat fraud and corruption — specifically in light of current financial technology development, the global landscape of electronic security, and changing digital and economic forms of globalization.

“The Abu Dhabi Accountability Authority’s hosting of the 2018 ACFE Fraud Conference Middle East comes within the framework of the authority’s strategy to improve performance, accountability and transparency,” said Al Suwaidi. “Under this strategy, ADAA is looking to implement best practices to improve the validation of financial reports and the compliance of subject entities to all relevant laws, regulations, rules and governance to promote and achieve accountability.” (See the interview with Al Suwaidi below.)

“We look forward to working with ADAA to put on another valuable conference for anti-fraud professionals in the Middle East,” said ACFE Vice President and Program Director Bruce Dorris, J.D., CFE, CPA, CVA. “ADAA’s commitment to this event underscores the importance of setting an ethical tone for not just the public sector but for the region as well.”

To request media credentials for this event, please contact Sarah Hofmann, ACFE public information officer, at For more information on the agenda, speakers and location, visit

About ADAA

According to ADAA, it was established as an independent body in 2008 under the authority of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces. ADAA is primarily responsible for enhancing and promoting transparency and accountability across Abu Dhabi government entities to ensure that these entities are managing and utilizing their resources and funds efficiently, effectively, economically, ethically and in alignment with the overall vision for the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.

Q&A with His Excellency Hamad Mohammad Al Hurr Al Suwaidi

Fraud Magazine recently interviewed His Excellency Hamad Mohammad Al Hurr Al Suwaidi, chairman of the Abu Dhabi Accountability Authority (ADAA), about ADAA’s anti-fraud efforts and its cooperation with the ACFE.

With the accelerating development of economic activity and investment in the UAE, what are some specific ways ADAA fights fraud in Abu Dhabi?
The deterrence factor is the key element to preventing and combating fraud. Accordingly, ADAA has established an approach where it will investigate financial violations and corruption cases as well as look into any shortcomings in legislations, financial and administrative systems, and internal monitoring systems in the Emirate and present proposals to remedy these problems and limit their negative impact.

Another very important dimension is that of awareness, training and communication. Thus, to support the comprehensive and sound legal and operational infrastructure in Abu Dhabi, ADAA will play a key role in promoting ethical practices and disseminating information on how to identify, react to and address violations.

What are your goals in tackling fraud in Abu Dhabi? Can you give some examples of successful anti-fraud efforts?
The foremost goal for tackling fraud in Abu Dhabi is to curb violations and ensure that there are adequate and sufficient mechanisms to impede crimes that affect public funds. In the context of a globalized economy, and the fact that Abu Dhabi and the United Arab Emirates at large present an open market for investors, there is a need to provide assurances that support the wellbeing of both investors and funds.

As we all know, competition for foreign investments is hard, and this requires that our economy provide the elements needed to gain further attractiveness and appeal to institutional and other investors — stability, profitability and a zero-tolerance policy for fraudulent activities supported by a robust, reliable and effective judicial system.  

What are the types of prevalent frauds in Abu Dhabi? What are some areas in which fraud is growing faster than others?
To highlight a “specialty” for fraud in Abu Dhabi would be a stretch; just like any dynamic and vibrant economy supported by an investor-friendly ecosystem, there are those who seek to utilize the system to commit the types of fraudulent acts that accompany business. One has to always keep in mind that the UAE is home to over 200 nationalities with a large and transient expatriate community; this obviously raises the challenge of defining what is “acceptable practice” and bringing everyone on board in terms of the definition of Abu Dhabi and of the United Arab Emirates — a practice that doesn’t infringe on laws, cause harm to the economy or negatively impact society.

You’ve said that the ADAA is specifically combating counterfeit virtual currency and corruption. What are some ways you’re doing that?
The area of crypto and virtual currencies is one that is still, globally, under scrutiny for better understanding. Several years ago, 5,000 bitcoins would get their owner two pizzas. Just recently, a mansion in a prime location in London worth several million British pounds was offered for that same amount. Is this reasonable? Does this accurately reflect the intrinsic value of the virtual currency? What are the regulations that guide the handling and trading with such currencies? I am positive that asking three experts those same questions would lead to very different responses. Nevertheless, in liaison with listing and financial services regulating authorities, ADAA is continuously assessing the threats related to fraud in every possible scenario.

Why did the ADAA decide to join the ACFE Law Enforcement and Government Alliance (LEGA)? 
As ADAA strives to further develop its workforce and remain abreast of the challenges, solutions, new areas for innovation and the like, it was natural to consider the ACFE’s LEGA as a pillar for this approach. The ability to be in a forum with some of the world’s leading agencies in the areas of combating fraud and preventing corruption to share ideas and best practices is what the LEGA offers. We look forward to a further development of this alliance and to hold future conferences in Abu Dhabi on related themes.

What are your plans for ADAA employees becoming Certified Fraud Examiners? 
Several of the technical resources within ADAA already hold the Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE) credential. This was a must for the development of ADAA’s mandate in this direction. However, we are exploring the enlargement of our pool of experts by establishing the CFE as a threshold to further our employees’ careers.

How can the ACFE help ADAA employees in their fraud-fighting efforts?
The ACFE stands at the forefront of the creation of state-of-the-art materials and knowledge and in bringing to roundtables for discussions the most brilliant minds and experts in the area of fraud-fighting efforts. Further, with its flagship credential, the ACFE has laid the foundations for the professional education in this domain. Thus, most, if not all, leading agencies, companies and authorities seek the CFE credential in the candidates that they consider for related roles, proof of its value and that those who hold the credential have attained an above par exposure and understanding of the elements, nature, impacts and prevention of fraud.

Why did the ADAA decide to host the upcoming 2018 ACFE Fraud Conference Middle East, the third time the UAE has hosted the event, and commit to sending a significant contingent? 
The decision taken by ADAA to host the upcoming 2018 ACFE Fraud Conference Middle East Feb. 25-27 in Abu Dhabi was the next natural step in the direction embraced. I highlighted earlier that the need for awareness and training is of paramount importance to the success of the efforts in deterring fraud. And there is no better forum to do that than in an international conference with some of the world’s most renowned authorities in the disciplines related to fraud prevention gathering and sharing their valuable knowledge and experiences.

This is a continuation of the efforts already engaged in 2016 and 2017 in Dubai. We look forward to an innovative event, especially in that it falls during February 2018, which was decreed as “Innovation Month” in the UAE.