AF Ferguson / PWC may face ban on practice

KARACHI (November 08 2006): The Institute of Chartered Accountant of Pakistan has referred A F Ferguson, member of PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC), to its Investigation Committee to see if the firm has engaged in professional misconduct.

The Investigation Committee will begin its deliberation on November 8. It may be recalled that A F Ferguson (Ferguson), representative of global firm PWC in Pakistan, has been facing various allegation of professional misconduct for last many months but this is the first time in its history that it will have to face formal investigation for professional misconduct in Pakistan.

ICAP has taken this step on the complaint of Nadeem Ahmed, Advocate, of Ahmed and Qazi Associates. Under Section 20H of the Chartered Accountants Ordinance 1961 (X of 1961), when conducting 'inquiry' into professional misconduct of A F Ferguson, the Investigation Committee shall be deemed to be a civil court and shall have the same powers as are vested in a civil court under Code of Civil Procedure 1908, specially in relation to summoning and enforcing the attendance of any person and examining him on oath, the discovery and production of any document and receiving evidence on affidavit.

Chartered Accountants Ordinance 1961 (X of 1961) gives the Investigation Committee the powers, whenever allegations of professional misconduct are proven in its inquiry, to remove Ferguson from the membership of ICAP for a period of five years. However, given the seriousness of allegations of the case, the Investigation Committee may even decide to refer the misconduct to the High Court of Sindh, in which case, if the case against it proved, there may even be a permanent ban on operating in Pakistan. Nadeem told Business Recorder that he was also keeping partners of PWC in London fully informed.

According to him, the shareholders' complaint against Ferguson's misconduct should be seen as a class action, an attempt to seek justice in the form of cancellation of PWC/Ferguson licence to practise in Pakistan.

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