ACCA saves #32m

ACCA has won a #32m court battle against a Malaysian student who claimed alleged plagiarism of examination questions by the association caused him mental distress.

Last week, businessman and Malaysian Institute of Accountants council member Dato Lau Ban Tin withdrew his claims against ACCA after the two sides reached an agreement in court. He also withdrew his action for damages and agreed to pay ACCA costs of RM25,000 (#4,077). The court prevented him from filing again in the future.

For its part, ACCA has undertaken not to take any action against Lau or his solicitors, while its third-party proceedings against the Malaysian Institute of Accountants – which were taken as a means to indemnify itself for any damages suffered as a result of the case – have been discontinued.

In a letter to the Malaysian Association of Certified Public Accountants last year, ACCA chief executive Anthea Rose admitted an examiner for the June 1997 joint ACCA-MIA tax paper had used material drawn from six questions in a MACPA exam.

‘This was in direct breach of the examiner’s contract which required him to produce original questions and, as a consequence, he is no longer an examiner for the joint examination scheme,’ she wrote.

But although ACCA was forced to include a #32m contingent liability in its annual report issued in March, no actual provision was made due to legal advice.

ACCA president Michael Foulds said this week: ‘We were always confident that this case would eventually be resolved in our favour.’

ACCA said it has reached an agreement with MACPA. In a letter to ACCA’s agm in May, Foulds will say: ‘(MACPA) has taken no further action on the matter.’

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