The attention of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) has been drawn to media stories on the report of the House of Representatives Ad-hoc Committee on Fuel Subsidy Management in which certain individuals, private firms and government parastatals were indicted.
As a professional body charged with the responsibility of regulating the practice of accountancy in Nigeria, we are aware of the grave consequences of the allegations and its implications for the oil sector, the nation’s economy and the accountancy profession by virtue of the alleged involvement of two firms of chartered accountants. In line with the provisions of its enabling Act of Parliament No. 15 of 1965, the Institute has set the machinery in motion to carry out an independent investigation, notwithstanding the fact that the Institute is yet to receive a formal complaint from the government or any group or individual on the matter. The Accountants’ Investigating Panel will conduct a preliminary investigation and make recommendations to the Accountants’ Disciplinary Tribunal for trial, if any of our members is discovered to have a case of professional misconduct to answer.
The Tribunal, which has an Assessor appointed by the Chief Justice of the Federation to ensure equity in the dispensation of justice, has the power of a High Court. The penalties, which vary according to enormity of the offences, range from suspension for months or years, reprimand and/or warning, withdrawal of certificate and practising licence to striking off of the names of such members from the Institute’s Register.
It is instructive to mention that the Accountants’ Disciplinary Tribunal is not established to deal with criminal cases such as fraud. These are left to the regular Courts of Law.
As champions of integrity and accountability, we reiterate our commitment to zero-tolerance of fraud and any professional misconduct. Any member/ member-firm found wanting, irrespective of status, will be sanctioned in line with the provisions of our Act.