Both PwC and David Donnelly have been cleared of all complaints concerning
their conduct at Mayflower, but the
Accountancy Investigation and Discpline
Board (AIDB) is still to decide which parts to make public.
There have been assurances that the AIDB is obliged to make the report
public. But it can decide to hold material back if it is not in the public
interest. If you are David Donnelly, or the auditors subject to the complaints
levelled at PwC, you might find that distinction difficult to follow.
Having been cleared by the AIDB’s panel, and with suggetions circulating that
the panel was not entirely happy with the case prepared by the AIDB, they will
feel very differently about the report.
The whole report needs to be aired in public. For their reputations and
standing in the profession, it would be understandable if they demanded that the
whole report was out in the open. In fact, it would seem intolerable form a
human rights viewpoint for the AIDB to be able to level complaints against an
auditor or FD, but to be silent on their being cleared.
Given that this is the AIDB’s first case, it is crucial it be examined in
detail because the future of accountancy discplinaries may hang on it. If there
are deficiencies in the process, as David Donnelly’s lawyers claim, they must be
addressed. The body’s procedures must be bulletproof so that accountants have
confidence in their disciplinary body’s ability to offer fair tribunals brought
on appropriate and reasonable grounds. Without that confidence, the AIDB will
struggle to establish itself as authoritative – with either accountants or with
the investing public.
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