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Accountants fined after shoddy audits

11:36 Fri Apr 20 2012

The shoddy audits of finance companies that later collapsed, costing investors millions of dollars, has led to two chartered accountants being suspended and fined by a disciplinary tribunal.

Robert Innes-Jones and Peter McNoe have each had their certificate to practise suspended for two years and have been prevented from signing off audits for five years after breaching the New Zealand Institute of Chartered Accountants' code of ethics.

A professional conduct committee this week ordered Mr Innes-Jones to pay $320,000 to the NZICA and Mr McNoe must pay the institute $285,000.

The breaches took place between 2006 and 2008 when Mr Innes-Jones and Mr McNoe worked for BDO.

Mr Innes-Jones admitted two charges relating to the audit of Blue Chip and Mr McNoe admitted four charges over his audit of Capital and Merchant. Both were for the 2006-2007 financial year.

Blue Chip collapsed in 2008 while Capital and Merchant failed in late 2007.

Both men were also guilty of errors in their audits of another finance company, Beneficial Finance, which is still trading.

Four charges against Mr Innes-Jones were withdrawn and Mr McNoe also had a charge dropped.

The committee found both men guilty of not carrying out their work with due care and diligence and other charges included a failure to seek evidence to support their audits.

Institute chief executive Terry McLaughlin says the cases were the last to be heard of the complaints it received over failed finance companies.

"In several instances that audit work fell below the standard NZICA demands from its members," he said.