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NEWS <a href=nal ess OPINION rial nists ibutors rs ons ssions ok SPORTS In Doubt? Check BCI Out BY OLAWUNMI OJO AND ADEWALE SANYAOLU "A desire to enhance competence and minimise chances of fraud and dishonesty in business practice and daily living," is how he describes his motivation to set up Background Check International (BCI). But beyond that, Kola Olugbodi may unwittingly have embarked on a crusade to restore high standards of integrity and moral rectitude in society. I T was going to be a society wedding to climax a six-year sizzling romance between Dele and Martha. But Martha's father, wealthy and renowned, insisted on a check on his son-in-law's personality, background and past, based on a previous experience. As a bank manager, Martha's father was shocked when a claims-verification exercise on d the bank's prospective employees revealed varied degrees of falsification. While some had criminal pasts, others were found wanting in the qualifications they claimed to possess. Weekly ts FEATURES & Politics ce al Health tion end y Review tive Briefs on & Drink Wheels y Worshi p day Ma g azine a y Ma g azine Ecumenical e Care From that experience, he resolved never to take chances on sensitive issues, at least not when he could afford the services of Background Check International (BCI), the intelligence services firm that helped unravel all these. So he hired BCI to conduct a spouse personality background check on Dele, his prospective son-in-law. The findings were startling. It was discovered that Dele, who claimed to be medical doctor with one of the teaching hospitals, was a laboratory technologist. Character wise, he was not found wanting. But that singular revelation rocked the almost sailing marriage boat. BCI's Chief Executive, Mr Kola Olugbodi, however reveals that this case is just one of such handled by his firm in the last three years of its existence as the first background check firm in Nigeria.The firm is also involved in human capital management and intelligence operations. It also engages in employment screening, claims and document verification, tenant background check and risk assessment for the finance sector. BUSINESS SERVICES rty ntments y Watch et Re p ort al Market ess Travels me Watch tr y Watch y Report ance ulife A trained statistician and researcher, Olugbodi, on graduating from Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) worked with the National Population Commission (NPC), where he played a crucial role in the 1991 census in Ogun State. From there, he joined the defunct North-South Bank. Following the bank's distress in 1995, Olugbodi veered into entrepreneurship, starting with marketing and later recruitment through his Josh Cyrus Limited, a recruitment and outsourcing outfit. "It was from Josh that the idea of background check evolved. Being a recruitment agency, we discovered that the missing link was always the issue of background check. When you recruit on behalf of your client, regardless of how candidates fare at interviews, we could not vouch for them. There were questions bothering on the authenticity of all their claims and documents. Experience brought discoveries of how, because of the situation of things in the country, people are tempted to falsify claims 1 " id="pdf-obj-0-2" src="pdf-obj-0-2.jpg">

NEWS

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OPINION

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SPORTS

In Doubt? Check BCI Out

BY OLAWUNMI OJO AND ADEWALE SANYAOLU

"A desire to enhance competence and minimise chances of fraud and dishonesty in business practice and daily living," is how he describes his motivation to set up Background Check International (BCI). But beyond that, Kola Olugbodi may unwittingly have embarked on a crusade to restore high standards of integrity and moral rectitude in society.

IT was going to be a society wedding to climax a six-year sizzling romance between Dele and Martha. But Martha's father, wealthy and renowned, insisted on a check on his son-in-law's personality, background and past, based on a previous experience. As a bank manager, Martha's father was shocked when a claims-verification exercise on

  • d the bank's prospective employees revealed varied degrees of falsification. While some had criminal pasts, others were found wanting in the qualifications they claimed to possess.

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FEATURES

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From that experience, he resolved never to take chances on sensitive issues, at least not when he could afford the services of Background Check International (BCI), the intelligence services firm that helped unravel all these. So he hired BCI to conduct a spouse personality background check on Dele, his prospective son-in-law.

The findings were startling. It was discovered that Dele, who claimed to be medical doctor with one of the teaching hospitals, was a laboratory technologist. Character wise, he was not found wanting. But that singular revelation rocked the almost sailing marriage boat.

BCI's Chief Executive, Mr Kola Olugbodi, however reveals that this case is just one of such handled by his firm in the last three years of its existence as the first background check firm in Nigeria.The firm is also involved in human capital management and intelligence operations. It also engages in employment screening, claims and document verification, tenant background check and risk assessment for the finance sector.

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A trained statistician and researcher, Olugbodi, on graduating from Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) worked with the National Population Commission (NPC), where he played a crucial role in the 1991 census in Ogun State. From there, he joined the defunct North-South Bank.

Following the bank's distress in 1995, Olugbodi veered into entrepreneurship, starting with marketing and later recruitment through his Josh Cyrus Limited, a recruitment and outsourcing outfit.

"It was from Josh that the idea of background check evolved. Being a recruitment agency, we discovered that the missing link was always the issue of background check. When you recruit on behalf of your client, regardless of how candidates fare at interviews, we could not vouch for them. There were questions bothering on the authenticity of all their claims and documents. Experience brought discoveries of how, because of the situation of things in the country, people are tempted to falsify claims

and forge certificates in the process of looking for jobs. So we decided to leave recruitment

and forge certificates in the process of looking for jobs. So we decided to leave recruitment and concentrate on this missing link in the employment processes. That got us to register BCI in 2004," he explains.

BCI, in addition, assists employers in investigating the background of their current workforce, to confirm and verify their claims as well. It equally does security consultancy for corporate organisations and tenant background check for landlords.

It strives to unravel the true personality of caregivers and drivers for parents and car owners and organisations. "We have had situations where people employed as house guards are the ones who give the household away to thieves. This can be prevented if you have information on the past of your prospective employees or current staff. After getting the information, it is not always a case of laying them off. It is just to guide your actions, decisions and dealings with them afterwards," Olugbodi says.

The verification starts using the leads in the resume or claims, such as past work places, home address, places of birth, references, etc to ascertain the veracity of all claims and the character and conduct of persons involved in the past. In the past, BCI had found several addresses to be fictitious and this had helped in curbing incidences of fraud.

In a society where people do things carelessly, giving people the benefit of the doubt and without the culture of verification, many firms and individuals have been defrauded in one way or the other. Olugbodi says a recent survey showed that 10 per cent of most companies' workforce have criminal backgrounds and tendencies. Seventy per cent of all loss of revenue was linked to employees' theft, internal fraud or collusion with outsiders, and about 33 per cent of job applicants were established to always falsify claims.

So the challenge for BCI initially bordered on assuring clients that it could do the job, in the face of scepticism and mistrust. But today, all these have been erased by its ability to deliver, as some of its clients refer it to other organisations and individuals. Olugbodi boasts that BCI has made the recruitment process easier.

He is alarmed at several atrocities and frauds in the financial sector, which he insists could be checked or minimised with background check on staff. He adds that funds lost to cases of fraud are too much compared to the amount that could be used on such checks.

The BCI boss advocates sustenance of background checks and re-appraisals to be re- assured of the character of staff. He says: "As long as things continue to change, you must constantly re-appraise and once your staff know they would be checked from time to time, they would sit up."

He stresses that most people now refrain from presenting falsified documents because BCI makes them to fill in forms that could let security agents go after them when they are caught, thereby sanitising the workplace environment.

Olugbodi is optimistic that by the time individuals and corporate bodies embrace the culture of background check, due diligence and process, there would be no room for

people to take society for granted. "It is high time people got more security conscious. It

people to take society for granted. "It is high time people got more security conscious. It is fair if you have inefficient and inexperienced people employed based on their claims but when you employ criminals with pre-conceived mind to do fraud, it is dangerous," he cautions.

He is sure of sanity and that the kind of security Nigerians are made to go through abroad would be history. Hence, he also advocates background check in screening of politicians and aspiring leaders to save the country from public disgrace.

With a vision to make necessary information available to individuals and organisations to boost the process of sanitising the country and wining international respect for it and its citizens, Olugbodi says profit-making is secondary to BCI.

While saying that background check is a norm in the hiring of personnel such as janitors, cooks, nannies, etc in the developed world, the BCI chief executive bemoans that the same is not applicable in Nigeria, citing cases of even spouses deceiving each other. To stem this, BCI now does checks for intending couples, having realised that people need to be sure of the claims being made by their spouses and their family background. A common case, he adds, is married men deceiving their brides that they are single. With hindsight, Olugbodi advises parents of intending couples to dig into the background of their would-be in-laws.

He is happy that background check is gradually becoming an industry in the country, and he is elated to be the first of the pack, in which he foresees a bright future.BCI, he states, has a working relationship with some security companies overseas and works in conjunction with private investigators in the United States and Europe, as well as some background check companies. This, he notes, makes the cost of conducting checks outside Nigeria cost-effective.

"Most of them also verify documents in Nigeria through us. We also help to confirm persons' background before international companies enter into business relationships with Nigerians. International background check is also one of our services."