Skip to main content

Accounting professor strengthens WVU-Bahrain relationship with forensics-fraud workshop

Expanding upon West Virginia University ’s relationship with the country of Bahrain, Dr. Scott Fleming recently presented the workshop “Procurement Fraud Detection and Prevention” at the Royal University for Women (RUW) in Bahrain.

Dr. Scott Fleming at the Royal University for Women (RUW) in Bahrain

Fleming, left, and Roebuck are pictured at the Bahrain workshop.

Fleming, an associate professor of accounting in the College of Business and Economics, presented the workshop as the result of highly successful connections in Bahrain over the past few years.

“The relationship was initially developed by David Stewart [director of international programs and associate vice president for international student life and global services at WVU], and B&E got involved in 2012 when David asked if we could conduct a workshop in Bahrain that would be fraud and forensics-related,” Fleming said. “So, I went in 2012 and I did a three-day workshop at RUW, and it went very well. The response was to invite us back for a series of workshops for the next several years.”

The recent workshop on forensic and fraud examination, which was held earlier this month, was sponsored in partnership by RUW and under the patronage of Housing Minister and RUW tender board chairman Bassem Al Hamer. The tender board is the purchasing and procurement board for the country with a clear agenda to set up a strict mechanism that would ensure fairness and equal opportunity for all.

“With the support of the tender board, I was able to integrate part of their mission into my presentations as to why the content of this workshop was important,” said Fleming, a veteran in accounting fraud examination and ethics. “A thorough knowledge of how to detect and prevent fraudulent practices really can help to reduce corruption, waste and abuse. If you have proper compliance in place, you can improve the efficiency of the purchasing process.”

There were approximately 80 participants in the workshop from a myriad of different industries, including oil and gas, banking, higher education and more, from Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Qatar. The workshop was also supported by the U.S. Embassy, with Ambassador William Roebuck attending the inauguration.

“Ambassador Roebuck was very instrumental. He was very interested in understanding our relationship there and where we were going with this. He asked how he could help, and it was a very good discussion,” he said. “He also sponsored 15 students to participate in the workshop.”

During the three-day workshop, participants worked on case studies and discussed certain risk factors related to an organization and what they could do to mitigate some of the risks. They also conducted behavioral exercises to demonstrate nuances in identifying and preventing fraud.

“We’ll never be able to prevent fraud; it’s always going to exist. But it’s how we deal with it that is important to our businesses,” Fleming said.

Overall, this workshop and the relationship helps enhance WVU’s international reputation and the reputation of RUW, WVU’s partner in the region.

“Bahrain, and particularly, RUW, is the portal in the Middle East for our footprint there. WVU has a strong alumni presence in the area, and we have a faculty member at RUW, Vivien Exartier, who earned his Ph.D. here at WVU,” Fleming said. “So, it’s always nice to go and help out a partner that has the connection back to our university, and that’s part of being the Mountaineer family.”

And while the alumni connections initially helped to develop this relationship, B&E and, specifically, the Department of Accounting, became involved because of expertise in the field.

“We are the world leaders in forensics ethics, teaching and research,” Fleming said. “We are just happy to begin to help out where we can and help in the reputation enhancing aspects of WVU and RUW in this venture.”