Institute of Accountants to investigate cases of misconduct

Alleged improper behaviour involving professional accountants who are members of the Malta Institute of Accountants is going to be investigated, the Institute’s president has insisted

Fabio Axisa
Fabio Axisa

Alleged improper behaviour involving professional accountants who are members of the Malta Institute of Accountants (MIA) is going to be investigated, the Institute’s president has insisted.

Fabio Axisa said that the quality standards of the profession remain a fundamental aspect that must be dealt with now and, as such, “a number of accountants, former and current members of the Institute, who have been linked, directly or indirectly, to alleged misconduct as professional accountants, are going to be investigated.”

Referring to former members of the Institute who had fallen into disrepute, Axisa said the Institute had immediately stressed the need for a detailed investigation, before instituting disciplinary proceedings, and had summoned the respective individuals and assiduously insisted for these individuals to present the appropriate evidence.

“The individuals had refused to collaborate with the Institute invoking legal advice to the effect that by collaborating they would be prejudicing their case. The Institute continued to maintain its position firmly and because of this constant position, these individuals decided to resign from the Institute rather than collaborate. Our unequivocal intentions were to investigate and take the appropriate disciplinary action,” Axisa said.

“Now, all current members of the Institute who have been involved, directly or indirectly, in the matters referred to, have been or will be shortly summoned to provide evidence as to whether they have upheld the core values of our Institute and profession, in line with the requirements of our regulations and bye-laws. Detailed investigations will be carried out with a view to instituting disciplinary proceedings wherever necessary. Disciplinary action will be taken against any member who, based on the Institute’s proceedings, will be deemed to have brought the Institute and our profession into disrepute.”

Axisa said that while the Institute was not the regulator - and that disciplinary action can only be taken vis-a-vis members of the Institute - the MIA would follow up its disciplinary proceedings with the Accountancy Board to ensure that appropriate and determined actions are pursued by the profession’s regulator as required.

He said that the fact that the Institute has not engaged in open public outright criticism of the Accountancy Board and its members, did not imply that the Institute was satisfied with the current regulatory landscape.

“The profession’s regulatory infrastructure is not sufficiently robust and beyond contestation and the Institute will continue to make representations to Government on key matters as the composition of the Accountancy Board; the mechanism through which its members are appointed, its funding, structure and the overall quality of the legislation regulating the Board’s affairs, amongst other issues,” Axisa said.

“Although we have been in discussions with the Accountancy Board to explain our points of view, we want these matters to be urgently addressed through formal proposals submitted to the Prime Minister and members of Cabinet and will not rest until our proposals are implemented as a matter of priority.”

Axisa noted that the Institute’s views, as representative of the largest profession in Malta, enjoy the respect of, and are sought by public and professional bodies. Over the past year, it has engaged in intense interaction with members, authorities, and stakeholders to address major issues affecting the profession and the marketplace, including the pandemic and the outcome of the MONEYVAL assessment report.

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