By Babajide Komolafe
New President, Chartered Institute of Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN), Major General Sebastian Achulike Owuama (rtd), has vowed to strengthen the Disciplinary Tribunal and Investigation Panel of the Institute to ensure speedy dispensing of justice.
He made this vow during his investiture as the 46th president of the Institute in Lagos on Tuesday.
He said during his tenure the Institute will continue its tradition of swift reaction to professional misconduct, and there would be power devolution to the district societies to enhance communication with members across the country.
â€œUsers of accounting services must be confident that we are protecting their interests. Since we are confident in our principles, behavioural codes and technical standards, the Instituteâ€™s reaction to any professional misconduct, in the new year, will continue to be swift, sure and severe as dictated by our enabling Act.
â€œAccordingly, the Disciplinary Tribunal and Investigating Panel will be strengthened to ensure quick dispensation of justice such that any matter brought before these organs are concluded, at the most, within two years.
â€œWhile reassuring our members and the general public that the professionâ€™s tradition of promptly carrying out its obligations with integrity and honesty will be sustained, I promise to work to build a single, disciplined and value-driven Accountancy Profession wherein lies our honour, prestige and respect.
â€œAt its inception in 1965, the membership of the Institute was just 250 without any student. Today, the Institute has over 30,000 chartered accountants, 13,310 Associate Accounting Technicians (AAT), over 120,000 students in its professional stream and over 75,000 in the Accounting Technicians Scheme.
â€œWith this astronomical growth, it has increasingly become difficult to efficiently and effectively reach out to our members and students who are widely interspersed nationwide.
â€œIn spite of the benefits of the developments in information technology, poor infrastructural facilities in the country has not helped matters towards ensuring complete and timely reach out to all stakeholders.
â€œConsequently, some members and students outside Lagos and other major cities feel disconnected, alienated and left out of the activities of the Institute. The situation has also led to the wrong perception nurtured by these members, users of our services and the general public that the Institute belongs to those in Lagos area only.
â€œTo address this challenge, I, therefore, intend to drive the Institute in another direction by a gradual but deliberate devolution of powers to the District Societies which are the outposts connecting the Institute to its stakeholders.
â€œThe functions and activities of the District Societies in the months ahead will be strengthened to ensure that this disconnect and information gap will be bridged.â€