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ICAN to sanction audit firms over wrong practices

The Institute of Chartered Accountant of Nigeria (ICAN) has threatened to impose sanctions on audit firms in the country whose practices do not conform to best practices.

President of the Institute, Chief (Mrs.) Elizabeth Adegbite stated this at the on-going 39th Annual Accountant Conference of the Institute in Abuja.

She stated, “The Institute has conducted the first round of practice reviews to ensure compliance with International Auditing Standards. The reports are being compiled for corrective action as the next rounds of reviews would attract sanction for deviations from Best Practice.

The global financial crises are attributable to failure of corporate governance emanating from decaying values, non-adherence to ethical codes of conduct and sound practice standards. A total of 13 firms of chartered accountants have so far been visited by our experienced reviewers. In the days and weeks ahead, many more of these visits will be conducted. Our role as purveyors of financial information which drive economic decision processes demands that we do this in the public interest.

The theme of this year’s conference, “Think Global, Act National” was informed by the need to continuously scan the global environment, benchmark our national practices and standards on global best practices such that our process of development as country can be accelerated.   Thus, as we continue to operate in a globalised, information-driven business environment, our institutions, systems and processes must conform to world-class standards. Only then can we continue to create value for sustained growth and development of the national economy.

As we commence this great global event, the lessons of the on-going economic and financial crises must not be lost on us as chartered accountants. We must horn our skills in risk management, business models and entrepreneurship in order to address skills-gap, reverse the current decline in asset values and restore confidence in the capital market as a mechanism for long-term investments. We must revisit and reaffirm our faith in the cherished values of our profession which are integrity, honesty, transparency, objectivity, adherence to standards and independence particularly in the discharge of our attestation and financial advisory functions. We pledge to continue to cooperate with other regulators, standard setters, policy-makers and the government to give a new meaning to due process and the ideals of corporate governance.

Recently, we are witnessing the government’s effort through the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in collaboration with the Nigerian Deposit Insurance Corporation (NIDC) to strengthen the nation’s financial institutions. It is pertinent to note   that the CBN’s action to stress-test all the Nigerian banks is in line with the Action Plan drawn by the Committee of G-20 nations late last year in an attempt to address the world’s financial crisis.

The current action of the CBN on Nigerian Banking System is intended to stimulate our economy, provide liquidity, strengthen the capital base of financial institutions, protect savings and deposits, address regulatory deficiencies, emphasis the need for effective risk management, and attempt to make credit facility available in the market. The Anti-corruption programme and Anti-money laundering initiatives of government are commendable.

Our Institute will continue to support the fight against corruption and has put in place a series of Mandatory Professional Education Programme (MCPE) on Money Laundering and Reporting. In this regard, we request for legislation to protect whistle-blowers. “


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