The Accountancy Investigation and Discipline Board has finally published the
judgment of the Mayflower public tribunal.
The Mayflower tribunal – in which the AIDB brought
complaints against company’s FD David Donnelly and PricewaterhouseCoopers for
falling short of accounting standards – was the first public tribunal held by
the industry disciplinary board.
The 247-page judgement, by an independent panel which made findings on the
case, slammed the expert evidence of industry author Emile Woolf.
The panel stated in its report that the best interests of the case were not
served by the AIDB calling Woolf as their expert ‘independent expert’ since he
had been closely involved in the investigation and advised the AIDB to separate
investigative and expert roles in future cases.
The panel also took opportunity in their report to criticise the fact that
Woolf had not been a finance director, and therefore his opinion of what a
reasonably competent FD would do in certain circumstances was of limited
assistance during the case.
Woolf was also criticised for presuming against the directors of Mayflower
and ignorance which neither he, nor AIDB executive counsel
Cameron Scott, investigated.
The panel further noted the plain errors in Woolf’s report, inaccuracies in
his verbal evidence and his failure to answer questions until directed by the
panel chairman, to do so.
The panel, however, accepted the evidence of other witnesses, provided by the
But the firm’s case was not helped by the misuse of a company secretary, of
terms such as ‘assurances’ and ‘undertakings’.
However, the panel considered the firm’s witnesses to be ‘honest’.
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