Blog Post

Three New Regents Elected to 2024–2025 ACFE Board of Regents

The Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE) is proud to announce that Kimberly A. Howell, CFE, Maheswari G. Kanniah, CFE, and Robert J. Smolich, CFE, have been elected to the 2024–2025 ACFE Board of Regents. Fellow Certified Fraud Examiners (CFEs) elected them from candidates selected by the Board’s nomination committee. Smolich, Kanniah and Howell will take office in February 2024. 

Kimberly A. Howell, CFE 

Inspector General 

Corporation for Public Broadcasting 

Washington, District of Columbia 

In 2019, Kimberly Howell, CFE, was appointed as the Inspector General (IG) for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), a federally funded nonprofit. Her office is responsible for independent oversight of the CPB and regularly conducts audits, evaluations and investigations of CPB funding, programs, operations and initiatives. 

During her 25-year career in federal law enforcement, Howell has conducted and led nationwide health care, grant, procurement, counterfeit and intellectual property fraud investigations. In 2011, she was appointed as a member of the Senior Executive Service, where she led compliance and oversight efforts and worked with federal, state and local law enforcement agencies on various critical programs and initiatives. She also trained national and international organizations on a variety of topics. 

In addition to her role as IG, Howell was appointed in 2018 by the Maryland Governor to serve as a member of the Maryland Commission on Judicial Disabilities. She also serves as an adjunct associate professor in the criminal justice program with the University of Maryland Global Campus and has a master’s degree in public administration. 

Maheswari G. Kanniah, CFE 

Executive Director and Group Chief Regulatory and Compliance Officer 

Kenanga Investment Bank Berhad (Kenanga) 

Kuala Lumpur; Malaysia 

Maheswari Kanniah, CFE, is the executive director and group chief regulatory and compliance officer of Kenanga. She’s a highly experienced regulatory and governance professional in the financial services sector with extensive expertise in compliance, regulatory, governance, ethics, financial crime, risk management and company secretarial functions.  

Throughout her 44-year career, Kanniah has conducted various capital market and anti-money laundering investigations. She was instrumental in the ACFE partnership with Kenanga, the first corporate entity in Southeast Asia to join the Corporate Alliance program. In 2023, her contributions earned her the Outstanding Achievement in Outreach and Community Service award from the ACFE, and she was the first Asian to be conferred this recognition. 

As past chair of the Compliance Committee with the Malaysian Investment Banking Association, Kanniah spearheaded various consultations and discussions with the securities commission, stock exchange and Central Bank of Malaysia for regulatory changes. She currently serves on the Board of the Institute of Corporate Directors Malaysia. 

Robert J. Smolich, CFE  

Assistant Inspector General for Investigations 

U.S. Department of State, Office of Inspector General 

Arlington, Virginia 

Robert Smolich, CFE, leads a 69-person office in charge of broad oversight of criminal, civil and administrative violations affecting programs and operations of the U.S. Department of State, the U.S. Agency for Global Media, and the U.S. Section of the International Boundary and Water Commission. This includes over 280 embassies, consulates and missions; a worldwide staff of 70,000 employees; and their affiliated contractors and grantees.  

Smolich is also an Air Force Reserve Colonel (Special Agent) with the Air Force Office of Special Investigations with more than 25 years of service. He currently serves as the individual mobilization augmentee to the Commander, Field Investigations Region 2 (Air Combat Command), where, when in status, he leads 30 geographically separated offices conducting investigative, counterintelligence and force protection support for the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Space Force in the U.S., South America, Middle East, Europe and Africa. 

Smolich has more than 22 years of federal military and civilian law enforcement experience in developing and shaping anti-fraud organizations, leaders and professionals. He is active with the ACFE’s Law Enforcement and Government Alliance program, routinely participates in ACFE’s executive roundtable and currently serves on the ACFE Board of Regents’ Advisory Working Group. 


Newly elected Regents will replace retiring Board of Regents members, Wendy Evans, CFE; Collins Wanderi, CFE; and Chrysti Ziegler, CFE. Thank you all for your service and commitment to continuing the ACFE’s mission, and congratulations to Kimberly, Maheswari and Robert! 

SOURCE: ACFE Insights – A Publication of the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners

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