PracticeAccounting FirmsPetition ‘misused’ say rebels.

Petition 'misused' say rebels.

A row has erupted at the ICAEW over the alleged inappropriate use of signatures demanding an extraordinary general meeting on district society reforms.

Campaigners have now lodged 1,217 signatures with the institute after claiming to have uncovered plans to contact all those who had signed the requisition, encouraging them to withdraw their support.

However, the institute said it had checked the signatures but believed that, owing to duplications, the campaigners did not have the required 1,180 to force an egm to be held.

Campaigners are now more determined than ever to force the egm believing strongly that the signatures should only be used for verification and not for contacting dissenting members.

In a strongly-worded statement, Don Heady, one of the driving forces behind the society protest, said: ‘We are absolutely staggered that the leading body of accountants can act in such an unethical manner. This action strengthens our resolve that a special meeting shall be convened.’

Heady claimed the campaigners had discovered district society presidents were being encouraged to write to signatories to say a number of members who had earlier signed had made it clear they no longer supported the egm.

‘This blatantly would have been untrue,’ Heady said. ‘We have only received one request from a signatory withdrawing support.’

A spokesman for the institute admitted that a draft letter had been prepared at the request of society presidents urging signatories to make their views known to the presidents and providing a fax-back form so they could withdraw support for the egm.

According to Heady, the campaigners had sought legal advice to prevent the institute using the signatures for any other purpose.

But the institute denied any wrongdoing, saying its lawyers had advised it was able to use the signatures in such a way.

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