CIMA notifications

The Disciplinary Committee found Mark Roberts, ACMA, guilty of misconduct.

While employed as a financial controller, his conduct between April and August 2008 had resulted in his conviction for fraud on 6 July 2010, relevant to his membership.

The fraud was committed in the course of Mr Roberts’ employment, involved a breach of trust and concerned more than £2,000 in total.

Mr Roberts had also failed to inform the Institute of the conviction, in breach of the Laws of the Institute.

The Committee decided to expel Mr Roberts from membership, taking into account the seriousness of the conduct, the financial sums involved and the issue of proportionality.

The Committee noted that convictions for offences of dishonesty committed in the course of employment are at the highest end of seriousness, and the case involved a series of offence`s over a period of some months.

While the Committee had also noted Mr Roberts’ previous good record and his admission of the offences at a reasonably early stage, protection of the public, the need to uphold proper standards and the maintenance of public confidence required the imposition of the most serious sanction.

Mr Roberts was also required to pay costs of £12,100.

 

The Investigation Committee found a prima facie case for Ms Tolu Abimbola (registered student) to answer in relation to a complaint that she: Entered into a Study Clawback Agreement with her former employer through which they agreed to fund CIMA course and examination fees.

The money paid would become repayable should Ms Abimbola leave employment.

Ms Abimbola subsequently left the company and breached the terms of the agreement, which led to a county court judgment being made against Ms Abimbola. Ms Abimbola failed to respond to the court.

Pursuant to Regulation II.8(e) of the Royal Charter Byelaws and Regulations (reprint July 10) the Committee invited Ms Abimbola to consent to the imposition of the sanction of a Reprimand by way of consent order, without further proceedings, to which Ms Abimbola agreed.

A finding upholding the complaint was recorded and an order for the imposition of a Reprimand was issued.

 

The Disciplinary Committee found Lindsay Burgess, FCMA, guilty of misconduct.

He had failed to provide the required handover information to a former client company’s superseding accountant, as requested in four communications, thus he had failed to respond appropriately, professionally and in a timely fashion to requests for cooperation from a superseding accountant.

This was failure to comply with the Code of Ethics (the fundamental principles of professional competence and due care, and of professional behaviour).

The Disciplinary Committee noted that Mr Burgess had accepted a 2009 Investigation Committee consent order relating to conduct in 2008 and 2009, and the Disciplinary Committee was therefore concerned by his continuing behaviour, including his continued failure to respond in January 2010.

The Disciplinary Committee imposed a severe reprimand and a fine of £1,000 and Mr Burgess was required to pay costs of £7,500.

 

The Disciplinary Committee had found Bashen Valambia, ACMA, guilty of misconduct. The complaint was that as sole director and shareholder of a company through which he provides accounting services, his company website had displayed an ACCA (Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) logo, which suggested that he and/or the company were ACCA qualified and/or authorised, although neither were ACCA qualified, authorised or associated.

As such, Mr Valambia was not entitled to use the ACCA logo and was misleading viewers of the website, in breach of the fundamental principle of professional behaviour (Code of Ethics), and thereby in breach of the laws of the Institute (Byelaw 1). Regarding “misleading viewers”, the Disciplinary Committee considered that there was sufficient evidence of recklessness in this regard.

The Disciplinary Committee also considered that the facts fell very much at the lower end of the disciplinary scale and imposed an admonishment, which was the very lowest of the sanctions available, and a fine of £250.

Mr Valambia was also required to pay costs of £1,250. Mr Valambia appealed on the grounds that there was irregularity or unfairness in the procedure leading to the Disciplinary Committee’s decision, and that the decision had been unreasonable.

The Appeal Committee was concerned with the Disciplinary Committee’s finding that Mr Valambia had acted recklessly, when the charge against him had not included this, nor had been amended to do so.

The Appeal Committee did not accept that as there was a risk of someone being misled and Mr Valambia did not check the accuracy of the website, he was thereby reckless. (There had been no finding that Mr Valambia was aware of the risk and that in the circumstances known to him it had been unreasonable to take that risk.)

The Appeal Committee allowed the appeal and set aside the order for sanction, fine and costs.

 

Latest lecture sets out power of social innovation
Nick O’Donohoe, chief executive of Big Society Capital, gave a powerful lecture at the latest “Tomorrow’s Value” event at leading City law firm Morrison Foerster recently.

Big Society Capital will play a critical role in speeding up the growth of the social investment market, and so boost the ability of social enterprises, charities, voluntary and community organisations (collectively “the social sector”) to deal with social issues.

The organisation is being capitalised with up to £400m from dormant bank accounts. An additional £200m will be provided by the four largest UK high street banks.

O’Donohoe said that the theories of market economics that have driven growth, employment, unprecedented technological progress and rampant globalisation over the past 30 years are being altered in a fundamental and far-reaching way; and that the model of market economics, based largely on self-interest, has neglected to deal with its own social consequences.

He argued instead for “a model that embraces the financial disciplines of market capitalism, but also provides opportunity and support for the vulnerable, the dispossessed and the downright unfortunate… harnessing the power of social innovation must be front and centre in the transformative process under way. We need to unleash a whole new wave of social entrepreneurs and help existing models with proven impact grow to scale much more effectively.”

 

Council member required
Following the resignation of Will James with effect from the close of the AGM on 9 June 2012, a new candidate is sought to represent the constituency on the CIMA Council.

The vacancy will be until the close of the AGM 2013, when the successful candidate may stand for re-election for a further three-year term.

Nominations for candidates (fellows) may be made by any six or more members (three of whom must be fellows) whose registered addresses are in electoral constituency 3.

Nomination forms may be obtained from Roopa Deshmukh, Corporate Affairs Manager (020 8849 2305/roopa.deshmukh@cimaglobal.com) or downloaded from www.cimaglobal.com/About-us/Gover nance-charter-and-byelaws/Elections.

Nominations must be received on the prescribed form by the Corporate Affairs department at 26 Chapter Street, London SW1P 4NP by noon on 14 May 2012 (faxes are acceptable, but must be followed by the signed original).

If more than one candidate is nominated for the vacancy, a postal and online ballot will be conducted.

 

View from professional standards...
Why is it that when things go wrong we seem to be drawn to them? Reading about the misfortunes of others is a bit like slowing down at an accident site.

When we read reports in the press about corporate wrongdoings, or when professionals fall below the standards required of them, how can we turn these real-life examples into something positive?

We can view these reports as examples of how things can go wrong and consider how we might act in the same circumstances.

Don’t be afraid to think about what the answer might be. Refer to the CIMA Code of Ethics. See it as your most basic tool and supplement it with the other resources, such as the ethics checklist and the new animation.

Make sure your employers and clients know you abide by it. Mention it in meetings before things go wrong, and position the Code of Ethics openly within your company or business early so that it is the focus of discussions when you need it.

A bit like a good friend, keep the Code of Ethics and your professionalism about you and travel with it. Be imaginative about using it – you could mention it in a company newsletter or give a presentation about it to your team. Share the animation with your colleagues.

If you keep the Code about you and raise its profile in good time it will then be there when you need it, and others will understand its importance as well. Visit www.cimaglobal.com/professionalism for more information.

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