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ICAN? . . . CIBN? by porkpie(m): 4:02pm On Nov 07, 2009
ICAN…? CIBN…?
By Ikenna Emewu [ikenna@sunnewsonline.com]
Saturday, October 31, 2009

To me these two professional bodies are just what I have indicated them on this headline. There are bodies of questionable character and attitude towards sanity in their areas of operation. Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN), the body regulating accounting professional practice has shown so much attitude of questions and questioning in the deluge that is overflowing and eroding the nation. Our present calamity in addition to the political kwashiorkor is the brouhaha in the banking sector.

ICAN has enjoyed and spoilt itself in a monopoly that makes it see any other accounting regulating body in existence as a threat. It arrogates to itself the rights, powers, authorities and jurisdiction of exclusively regulating the profession. Any other body that ventures there is fought with all its arsenal until it either dies or loses face among patrons. The witty war of the monopolist that has been here for 44 years has taken it to various dimensions against other bodies in the field. It rammed on ANAN, and its efforts to develop itself were rather channeled to stopping ANAN's existence until the Supreme Court said no. And before long another body was ratified by the National Assembly to take effect. I would not ask the ICAN why it thinks just one body is enough to control and coordinate the profession among 150 million people.

I will also not ask it if those other nations that belong to IFAC alongside it have just one monolithic body in their countries. But I would ask ICAN if their counterparts in other nations would fold their hands and watch helplessly while audit firms operated by their members have a field day screwing figures and manipulating out-of-the-world digits to cover monumental fraud as we hear in the banks and their non-performing loans that have landed many of the bank lords in mess.

I would ask again if in the US, Arthur Anderson, an accounting firm was not nailed in the Enron scam because of figure fabrication and falsification. Then I will finally want to know from ICAN what it is waiting for and how long it would take the body to take a decision on the audit firm/s that cooked the N13b toxic figures that destroyed Cadbury in 2002.

The same ICAN members were the auditors who saw and likely looked away while Lever Brothers roasted in manipulated figures in the days of late Rufus Giwa and the old UBA in the 90s when some of the 'whizkids' who have found abode in a new sector skinned the old bank alive. Your same shining lights in the ICAN did all these. Such actors still serve as the torchbearers in the revered profession who you still pander at their altars for professional obeisance.

When the Cadbury scam broke, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) punished the company severely with N100,000 fine and penalty of N5,00 per day between June 30, 2002 and December 6, 2006. But ICAN on its part remained docile and did nothing. So when will the great ICAN purge itself of infested super professionals who are adroit in cooking false audit figures? Or is ICAN afraid that such cleansing or sorting would leave no one out and therefore would rather act slowly on self destruct and organized compromise.

Now hear this: ICAN in statement of August 24, 2009 signed by its Registrar/CE in reaction to the banks' rot still told us in paragraph 5 that: “Any member found guilty in the banks problems would be subjected to the Accountants Disciplinary Tribunal”. I agree, because it did the same in the past in the Cadbury, Lever Brothers and old UBA cases. Good professional body indeed. Yet, the mission statement of the ICAN Act No. 15 of September 1, 1965 which brought the body into being enunciated that ICAN would produce world class accountants, regulate their activities and continuously enhance their ethical standards. But is that consistent with what we have been seeing? My annoyance is that these banks now stewing in their sauce accumulated the virus of decadence over the years. The same banks all these years passed through the crucible of ICAN members annually who audit their books and certify them ok and fit as fiddle. No, ICAN. I put a giant question mark on you, and request your obligation of clearing the tag.

NDIC has been bold to state that the indicted bank MDs have very big questions to answer and that the equities were far unequal in the deals that burst the bubble. While I don't send the indicted to the gallows before the courts do so, I am sure I can put some vital questions across to ICAN whose members audited the accounts of these banks in the years of these non performing loans and made a culture of giving them clean bill every year. Does that mean such individuals never compromised the standards? If they did, since the books have been found to be tainted, why keep mum, or have you lost your cane to whip the bad lots out of town to make sure your good image which preserved you over these 44 years remains untarnished. Is it no longer the objective of ICAN to ensure and enforce clean practice, or do you expect a poor newspaper reporter like me to dabble into that? ICAN, your name carries a large question mark. You can't delete it until you tell us what role your members played in this consuming inferno. Or do you want to copy the Nigeria Bar Association that has powers to axe members found wanting but lost its voice on Tafa Balogun as a lawyer and member of the Bar after his indisputable conviction by a competent court?

One of the problems we were told Savannah Bank had with the regulators is that a certain big shot insisted that his wife who is not lettered in banking or its allied disciplines must be the managing director. The Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN) and Central Bank of Nigeria feared that this bull would trample on fragile wares with impunity in their China shop, so she would rather be kept at bay before the damage occurs.
It is not subject to any doubt that the standing rule in Nigeria is that bank MDs must be staunch members of the CIBN. If they are, then what is the role of the CIBN in the running of banks in Nigeria and the control of members who stray from course?

Have you ever pondered on the irony that CIBN President till today is Dr. Erastus Akingbola, the ex-Intercontinental Bank MD who was removed for alleged unethical practices by the CBN? The same Akingbola, who I have not and will never declare guilty yet had thundered in a session of bankers on December 10, 2008 that henceforth all bank workers must be CIBN members or no job. The body has been fretting to enforce the provision of the CIBN Act No. 5 of May 4, 2007 that only certified members of the body are fit to work in banks.

“Akingbola, who is also the chief executive of Intercontinental Bank, said the Institute can no longer fold its arm and watch as unscrupulous elements bring the noble profession into disrepute. He urged bankers to eschew greed and unethical practices and exhibit at all times, high sense of probity, honesty and transparency, which are the cardinal points of the institute's code of ethics”. That was Akingbola talking to his members and Nigerians on the above date from a reliable report. I ask you if he meant this statement?

He even announced setting up three technical committees to harness ethical practices and efficiency in the CIBN. The bodies are practice license board, investigating panel and disciplinary tribunal. And this was on August 5, few days before the CBN struck and ripped open their underbelly.
It's a travesty to have great professional bodies of world repute watch in learned helplessness as the system is mired in incongruities.
Yes, CBN regulates the banks, but what complimentary roles does CIBN play in maintaining sanity in banking, or the ICAN in making sure the individual members play straight? So many questions to answer to know exactly why the adult was at home, folded his hands and watched the goat give birth in tether. The rot in our banks is an institutional decay. It was sired by the collective compromisers, given animation by greed and powered to fly by a cabal that cuts across all institutions. Today, the same people shed more crocodile tears than the rest of us for our banks and instead of blaming the institutions who should have acted in good time they rather wallow in compounding the crisis.

Nigerians, can you see the managers you have?


CULLED FROM THE SUN NEWS ONLINE DATED Saturday, October 31, 2009

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Re: ICAN? . . . CIBN? by pioneer: 12:41pm On Oct 22, 2014
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