• December 8th, 2019

Opinion: Public Accountants’ and Auditors’ Board: Inspiring confidence in Namibia’s audit profession


The Public Accountants’ and Auditors’ Board (PAAB) is a statutory board conceived by an Act of Parliament, the Public Accountants’ and Auditors’ Act No. 51 of 1951 (as amended). PAAB plays a critical role in protecting the interests of the public and enhancing investor confidence in Namibia through the provision of regulatory oversight of the public accounting and auditing profession in accordance with internationally recognised standards and processes. This is done through investigations, quality assurance, accreditations and training, and through the Audit Development Program (ADP).

How to lodge a complaint
Any member of the public, association or organisation may lodge a complaint against an auditor who is registered with the Public Accountants’ and Auditors’ Board (PAAB) if they feel the auditor is guilty of improper conduct. At the outset, it is important to understand that the Board investigates alleged improper conduct on the part of individual registered accountants and auditors, and if necessary, implements disciplinary action against such auditors. The Board is not in a position to assist with the recovery of monies – it is neither a court nor an alternative to the normal debt collection procedures.
In order for such a complaint to be made, it is important to note the following:

Affidavit
Members of the public who wish to lodge a complaint of improper conduct against a registered auditor may do so on affidavit. The original affidavit is required.
An affidavit is a sworn statement signed in the presence of a Commissioner of Oaths (for example, an attorney or police officer).
 
Defamation
A complaint shall clearly and concisely set out the specific acts or failures to act, giving rise to the complaint of improper conduct.

It is important that members of the public understand that derogative offensive statements and subjective unsubstantiated allegations can be considered defamatory by the auditor against whom such statements are made. To make a defamatory statement simply means to make a statement which is slanderous in nature and can be considered as damaging to a person’s reputation.

In order to avoid your affidavit being considered defamatory, you should restrict yourself to the objective facts of the matter – stated simply, truthfully and without unnecessary elaboration, supported only by relevant documentation.

Disclosure
On furnishing the PAAB with an affidavit, it is prudent to confirm in a covering letter that you have no objection to your affidavit being forwarded to the respondent auditor. Also remember to include in a covering letter all your current contact details (for example, postal address, land line, cell phone, fax numbers and e-mail address).

Procedure
While every effort is made to obtain a fast turnaround time with complaints, it is important to understand the process of an investigation is not a rapid one. By its very nature, an investigation must take time if it is to be performed thoroughly and correctly. The investigating committee, which initially investigates complaints against auditors when all the relevant documentation and comments have been obtained, meets approximately six times a year. The committee comprises senior practitioners in the auditing and legal fraternity, and it deals with each matter thoroughly – on its merits. It makes a recommendation to the Board.

The board of directors considers the merits of the matter with the recommendation of the investigating committee. In some instances, before deciding on the matter, the Board may conduct its own investigation into the matter or refer the matter back to the investigating committee for further investigations. 

PAAB Investigations Department – 061 285 8425 or investigations@paab.com.na Adapted from: www.irba.co.za

A complainant is always advised of the outcome of the investigation. 
Jurisdiction
The Board is empowered by the Public Accountants’ and Auditors’ Act No. 51 of 1951 (as amended) to investigate and if necessary, hear any allegations of improper conduct against a practitioner and, if such practitioner is found guilty, to impose one of the prescribed punishments. The punishments include, inter alia, a caution, reprimand, a fine, suspension from practice for a specific period, cancellation of the registration of the practitioner with the Board, and removal of the auditor’s name from the register of auditors.

Evidently, the powers of the Board are purely disciplinary in nature. The Board does not act in place of a criminal or civil court, and its jurisdiction extends only to the conduct of registered auditors. The attention of complainants is drawn to the fact that the Board does not award compensatory orders in favour of the complainant if the auditor is found guilty of unprofessional conduct.
 


Staff Reporter
2019-11-28 08:00:52 | 10 days ago

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