Say No To Hudud

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Gatekeepers, influencers and the Auditors ~ Part 3

The failure of the gatekeepers and the influencers to take all necessary measures and precautions, against the possibility of the auditors under their watch resorting to unethical and downright criminal acts for the sake of profit, means that we get the sort of situation we see now with PwC Malaysia. 
Errol Oh, who has written about the duties of the Gatekeepers and the influencers in his weekly column.

When a major auditing firm like PwC Malaysia is exposed, warts and all, and the Malaysian public gets to view the true reality of  the ethical standards which the senior partners in that firm subscribe to, it is not just a blow to the hallowed name of PwC, but also to the auditing fraternity as a whole, and the various bodies and individuals who should have known better than to take their jobs lightly.

It has now come to a stage where PwC Malaysia cannot even follow the directions of the Kuala Lumpur High Court in submitting documents. And even when they do submit documents, we have seen how doctored documents, and illegally obtained phone records are added in, making a mockery of the whole process.

When PwC Malaysia gets away with using its influence to get lucrative Government contracts, as well as getting the staff of its clients to break the rules and guidelines of the clients industry, for PwC Malaysia's benefit, we have the feeling that we have allowed the auditing firms to write their own rules, purely because no one is watching them.

But the fact remains that there are numerous bodies and individuals who have the duty to keep an eye on the acts of a firm like PwC Malaysia. So why the total failure by so many parties, over such an extended period of time?

Is this failure by the gatekeepers and the influencers to keep PwC Malaysia on the straight and narrow, one that is self serving, or simply a manifestation of incompetence?

If the interests of the Malaysian public cannot be protected by the Auditors of Public Interest Entities; and is also not protected by the various bodies who have a watchdog role in the auditing world, should the Malaysian Public now demand yet another layer to watchdog the watchdogs? So where will it end?

The financial repercussions to auditors who overstep the line by a mile or five, like PwC Malaysia, will not be enough to ensure that things do not repeat themselves. When an auditor is ethically compromised, the shareholders of all it's clients who are having sleepless nights wondering why PwC Malaysia are still auditing their companies, have a right to ask the watchdogs if they can guarantee the veracity of what the compromised auditor is signing off on, but that means that the watchdogs have to be at least seen doing their jobs. That is definitely not the case at the moment.

Events are still unfolding, and time will bring more truths to the light, and each revelation is not only a damning indictment of PwC Malaysia, but also the gatekeepers and influencers, who have failed to do what is right. 

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