Chris Dickson, the executive counsel of the Accountant’s Joint Disciplinary Scheme, spoke powerfully in defence of Andreasen at her dismissal hearing in Brussels last month, Accountancy Age can reveal.
He represented her pro bono publico, appealing for her reinstatement in front of the entire outgoing commission, a call that fell on deaf ears, as her dismissal was later ordered.
A leaked Brussels transcript of last month’s hearing confirmed that none of the EU commissioners present asked a question at the hearing.
During his evidence Dickson said: ‘Judging by some of the papers I’ve seen, one might be forgiven for thinking Ms Andreasen was being accused of fraud rather than trying to prevent it.’
He added that in fact she was ‘a very good accountant’ and her two-year suspension by the commission contrasted with the treatment of the senior officials who had been accused of fraud. Ms Andreasen was ‘highly intelligent, not possessed of horns, but with an admirable determination’. She had a number of qualities of which the most important was independence of thought and of action linked with her instinct to question and her sense of responsibility, he said.
‘The single greatest contributor to corporate disasters is the accountant who is not prepared to stand up for the interests of the institution for which he or she works,’ Dickson said.
Andreasen later told the hearing that the worst problem of all was ‘the state of denial’ by high officials managing the funds where she had discovered and publicised weaknesses.
Indeed, she stressed that four members of a disciplinary board that had recommended her dismissal to the College of Commissioners were ‘part of this group of high officials who for years managed the funds in a vulnerable system’.
Sources close to Andreasen said she was expected to appeal.
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