Promises to go after “illegal accounting, auditing firms”
By Roosevelt Jabah (intern)
Victor S. Tanwone, president of the Liberia Institute of Certified Public Accountants (LICPA) on Wednesday, December 12, called on the Senate not to concur with the Lower House on the amendment of eight of the Sections in the entity’s 2010 Act, as petitioned earlier by a group under the banner, ‘Aggrieved Professional Accountants’ headed by Eric Nagbe.
At a news conference in Monrovia, Tanwone said the amendment of specific sections of the LICPA Act does not augur well for the institution’s forward march to empower Liberian professionals.
It may be recalled that a month ago, individuals under the umbrella of the ‘Aggrieved Professionals Accountants’ representing Eric Nagbe, petitioned the Legislature to amend specific sections of the LICPA 2010 Act.
A copy of the release, which is in possession of this newspaper, outlined specific sections to be amended and reads: Section10:3 – structure of the governing council: This requires that the President serves as CEO and secretary of Council, Section 10:9 – Governing council members, President, Vice President, Executive Director, etc. should not own firms, Section 24.4 – Any government employee performing accounting or accounting related functions should be certified, public accountants. Section 24.6 – Anyone can partner with a CPA, section 15.8B – Admission after one year. Section 15.8C – Has been trained for three years or more years, section 15.8D – has been lawful resident, and section 15.8E- has passed a qualifying examination.
According to Mr. Tanwone, upon receipt of said petition, the committee of the Legislature on Public Accounts and Expenditures, invited LICPA for a ‘stakeholder’ meeting at the capitol which was attended by LCIPA and the Institute of Tax Practitioners, The Ministry of Finance and Development Planning, the Internal Audit Agency and the Aggrieved Professional Accountants.
He explained that during the meeting, LICPA questioned the committee on the makeup of the ‘Aggrieved Professional Accountants,’ but in response, they were told that it was not their business to know, something they described as “unfair treatment.”
Tanwone added, “There is no record to prove that Mr. Nagbe is a member of LICPA or any other professional accounting organization, or have attempted to sit any professional accounting exams.
“This is an impersonation and the institute is considering taking the appropriate course of action through its legal counsel.”
Tanwone claimed that Mr. Nagbe used his title to sign audited financial statements; an act which he said is exclusively reserved for licensed members of LICPA as it is practiced globally.
When reporters contacted Mr. Nagbe shortly after the press conference, he promised to response the next day. Again the next day, he re-scheduled the interview for the following day on grounds that he was not well. Nagbe said he would address himself at a particular time to the issues Tanwone raised, “because I have not been too well to speak to the press on those petite things.”
In a related development, Mr. Tanwone cautioned the business community not to do business with accounting and auditing firms that are not licensed by LICPA.
He said that any entity doing so will be in violation of the law. “Plans are on the way through our legal team to stop the operation of illegal firms, and hopefully January 2019, a full listing of recognized institutions will be published,” he said.
According to Tanwone, LICPA has reviewed the Lower House’s Committee on Public Accounts and Expenditures for due diligence, and observed that the process is short of the concept of ‘strategic comparability.”
Mr. Tanwone said his institution’s working relationship with the government is cordial, noting that they support the ‘Pro-Poor Agenda Prosperity and Development.’
He, however, called on all members of LICPA to exercise restraint and desist from acts that have the propensity to complicate the work of the Governing Council as the council is doing everything to resolve the current challenges facing the institution.
LICPA was initially enacted into law in 1993 as an institute of Certified Public Accountants Limited of Liberia, and subsequently repealed in 2010 as the Liberian Institute of Certified Public Accountants Act of 2010 with the sole mandate to represent, regulate and promote the accounting profession in the country.