JDS launches investigation of ICAS members at shipbuilders.

The accountants’ Joint Disciplinary Scheme is to examine the role of Scots ICA members and firms associated with shipbuilder Semple Cochrane after concerns were raised over its financial statements.

Chris Dickson, executive counsel of the JDS, has launched the investigation after it was referred to him by the institute. He will examine the role of members whether as auditors, advisers, directors or employees.

The action follows a public attack by Malcolm Chapman, a member of ICAS and former non-executive director of Semple Cochrane, who accused the body of failing to investigate institute members in connection with a controversial contract to refit a naval ship.

Chapman raised his concerns in a report submitted to ICAS 16 months ago, two days after resigning his post on the Semple Cochrane board. Up until that point no formal investigation has been launched and ICAS had to decide if there was enough evidence for an inquiry.

In June this year, Semple’s board wrote off #1.67m on a contract with Babcock Rosyth to refit a naval landing ship, the Sir Belvedere, prompting a plunge in the company’s share price.

A review, conducted by Ernst & Young, found the group’s March 1999 interim results, audited by Deloitte & Touche, were overstated by some £10m as a result of accounting errors, the majority of which related to prior years.

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