Auditing Auditors Of The Failed Banks

The decision by the Institute of Chartered Accountants Ghana (ICAG) to investigate the auditors of the collapsed banks is appropriate. Anything short of that decision could have robbed the highly revered professional body of its most important attribute, respect in the public space and indeed among the comity of its counterparts beyond the country’s frontiers.

By their negligence or whatever, the auditors have let the people of Ghana down and robbed the professional body to which they belong, a feather on its cap.

The need to determine what informed the decision of the auditors of the collapsed banks to refuse to press the alarm button regarding the professional breaches in the now collapsed banks, cannot be marginalized. We need these details so the mess does not recur in the future.

Whoever’s incompetence or succumbing to political pressure in this matter should be sanctioned and in the case of professionals they should be proscribed from practicing. Had the ICAG not served this notice it would have failed in its responsibility to the people of Ghana.

Auditors should not suffer from blemishes of integrity and in the case of those responsible for managing the books of the collapsed banks, they do not appear to us to have conducted themselves in a manner commensurate with the tenets of their profession.

If all auditors in the country were like those who would soon be audited by the ICAG, public and private institutions would have long collapsed. The picture we are seeing is like one in which the auditors were bought over and asked to gloss over the deficiencies in the banking practices which were totally at variance with the laws of the sector in the country.

The auditors’ green pen should not fear the orders of the unscrupulous politician. When, however, as we are beginning to suspect that the reverse took place, the consequences are the explosion we witnessed and the subsequent action of the apex bank.

Only a probe by the ICAG of the auditors of the collapsed banks would unveil the true picture. As for the appropriate sanctions to be exacted, the ICAG knows best, but in our opinion those who have let the country down this way must pay dearly for their deliberate faux pas. The integrity of the ICAG would receive a major boost should it do a clean job of probing these auditors.

We are imagining the kind of bill of corporate health the auditors gave the failed banks. Could they have given a thumbs-up? If they did, God save this country! Most of them won awards for sterling performance. Need we respect such awards if these failed banks were adjudged excellent? ICAG bravo as we stand by. Keep us posted. Ghana is working again.