RegulationAccounting StandardsWatchdog accused over expert witness

Watchdog accused over expert witness

Kingston Smith hits back at the AIDB after highly-respected partner Emile Woolf was severely criticised for his work as an expert witness in a disciplinary tribunal

The firm lambasted the disciplinary body and its independent panel this week,
after a full judgment of the Mayflower case – containing criticisms of Kingston
Smith partner Emile Woolf – was published.

‘We have for some months had serious reservations as to the manner in which
the investigative and disciplinary processes have been followed and applied and
we believe that the AIDB will need to remedy the defects in its procedures that
have been highlighted by the Tribunal,’ a Kingston Smith spokesman said.

Woolf was used by the AIDB as an expert witness during the Mayflower
tribunal, in which the AIDB brought complaints against FD David Donnelly and the
auditors, PricewaterhouseCoopers.

But the watchdog suffered a humiliating defeat in its first public tribunal,
after dropping some charges and later having the other complaints dismissed by
an independent panel.

The panel’s criticism of Woolf – for making erroneous verbal claims, and not
answering questions – was included in a 247-page report which contained the
panel’s findings.

The AIDB’s executive counsel, Cameron Scott, was also criticised for using
Woolf as an expert witness.

Kinston Smith defended Woolf, describing him as ‘a highly experienced
accountant who has compiled over 300 reports in his long career’.

A spokesman added: ‘We invited the tribunal to correct what we regard to be
factually incorrect and prejudicial findings… the tribunal’s decision did not
focus on the appropriate and key issues and criticised Mr Woolf in relation to
the scope of the investigation, a matter that was wholly outside of his
control.’

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