LICPA Defends Its Status, Certifications -Says Samora Wolokollie Is a Legitimate CPA

MONROVIA: In a spirited move to debunk insinuation and mischaracterization about its status and authority to promote and regulate the accountancy profession in Liberia as was directed against the institution by a self-styled Liberian activist, Martin KN Kollie, the Liberia Institute of Certified Public Accountants(LICPA)  through its President, Victor SBK Tanwone Sr, said by virtue of the provision enshrined in the LICPA Act, the Institute has the authority to grant/award the CPA designation on anyone who meets the requirements for such designation, just as he defended the qualifications of Dr. Samora Wolokollie, Deputy Minister for Fiscal Affairs, Ministry of Finance and Development Planning and Commissioner General designate of the Liberia Revenue Authority(LRA) who was recently nominated by President George Manneh Weah to replace fallen former LRA Boss, the late Thomas Doe Nah.

Addressing a major press conference yesterday at the national Headquarters of LICPA, Mr. Tanwone said his attention was drawn to diabolical post of Kollie on the facebook on January 5, 2024 which was intended to bring to public ridicule and tainting the image of the institute where he(Martin) disrespectfully challenged the qualification of Mr. Wolokollie of not only being unworthy of being awarded the qualification as a Certified Public Accountant(CPA) but also that LICPA “has no authority to award/grant any CPA” and that LICPA is “a membership based and not academically earned”

Giving the historical background of LICPA to buttress his statement that the institution was legally created by law and not a recognized body as Kollie claimed in his post, Tanwone said the Liberian Institute of Certified Public Accountants (LICPA) was enacted into law in 1933 by the National Legislature as a Professional Accountancy Organization (PAO), named the Institute of Certified Public Accountants Limited and subsequently repealed and amended as the Liberian Institute of Certified Public Accountants (LICPA). He said it was subsequently licensed by the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC, the global regulatory body for the accountancy profession) and empowered by said Act to carry out, amongst others, these specific functions; as stated in Part 3, Section 7 of the LICPA Act.

Speaking further he said the overarching objectives of the Institute are, and shall be to represent, promote and regulate the accountancy profession in Liberia, in the public interest and to  accomplish these overarching objectives the operational activities of the Institute shall be to, “Set, monitor and enforce accounting, auditing, other assurance, education, ethics and other professional standards of general and specific application in Liberia; License qualified individuals and firms to engage in public accounting in Liberia; and Supervise the conduct of all persons, firms and individuals, who engage in public accountancy in Liberia”.

Addressing Kollie’s assertion that “the LICPA is a membership-based and not an academic Institution and the CPA designation is not academically earned”, Tanwone said Kollie does not know and understand that “LICPA indeed is not an academic but Professional  Accountancy Organization (PAO) that legally engages in training (education as listed part 3, section 7, count 1 of the objective) of the Institute, as empowered by the National Legislature and enshrined the Act creating the Institute”

“A Professional Accountancy Organization is a body or organization enacted by a legislature or parliament of a particular jurisdiction to perform such functions as stated in Part 3, Section 7 of the LICPA Act”, he said.

On the claim that “the LICPA has no authority to grant/award any CPA”, Tanwone who has been in the saddle of leadership of the entity said Section 14, subsection 2 (a i), of the LICPA Act captioned “Certified Public Accountants (CPAs)”, and defined the holder of the certification as an individual who “completes the professional education requirements prescribed by the Council, passes the appropriate qualifying professional examinations for CPA membership of the Institute, which is conducted by the Council under this Act, and completes practical training of such description and for such period as the Council may prescribe”.

“By virtue of this provision enshrined in the LICPA Act, the Institute has the authority to grant/award the CPA designation on anyone who meets the requirements for such designation. How then can Mr. kollie claim that the LICPA does not have such authority?”, Tanwone said

Addressing the issue of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Ghana(ICAG) and LICPA not “being recognized in most countries”That the ICAG and LICPA are not recognized in most countries, Tanwone said “a PAO’s recognition is granted and honored globally if that PAO applies for membership with the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC), (the global regulatory body of the accountancy profession), is vetted, and meets all the requirements appertaining to membership and is admitted into the membership of the global body, IFAC”.

“The LICPA and ICAG are members of IFAC and in good standing and sit on the Council of IFAC as Council members as of the date of this press release. Again, I ask Mr. Kollie, can any PAO that is not recognized globally sit on the Council of the global regulatory body?”, he said.

On the designation of the Chartered Accountant(CA) which Kollie denounced, the LICPA leader said his institution and its Ghanaian partner, ICAG entered into a “twinning arrangement” on April 12, 2013 under the project, “Capacity Strengthening of the Liberia Institute of Certified Public Accountants and funded by the World Bank.

“Under the arrangement, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed between the Institute of Chartered Accountants, Ghana (ICAG) and the LICPA. The LICPA in conjunction with the ICAG, administers the ICAG professional exams in Liberia as the LICPA’s professional accounting qualification exam. Under the terms of the MOU, LICPA candidates who complete the ICAG exams will be admitted to the ICAG and certified as Chartered Accountants (CA), Ghana; and then additionally qualified for admission into the LICPA as Certified Public Accountants (CPAs), Liberia upon passing one paper in Liberia Taxation to be administered solely by the LICPA.

“The LICPA confirms that member Samora Wolokolie has meet all the requirements of these instruments appertaining to examinations, qualification and certification of both Institutes and was duly admitted into both Institutes as Chartered Accountants (CA) and Certified Public Accountants (CPA) in good standing as of the date of this press release and is authorized to continue the use of the CA and CPA designations after his name”, he said.

Mr. Tanwone also used the occasion to address other crucial national issues such as the decision to audit the outgoing government using foreign firms and the appointment of the comptroller and accountant general.

“The Liberian Institute of Certified Public has taken keen interest in the President – elect’s pronouncement about his intention to hire the services of foreign audit firms to conduct audits of the stewardship of past government officials. The institute applauds and welcomes this initiative.

“However, we are pleased to bring to the attention of his Excellency that there exist local audit firms with equivalent qualifications and competency to perform such engagement. The Institute therefore requests his Excellency to hire the services of these local audit firms or encourage any foreign audit firm to be hired to partner with local audit firms that are licensed by the LICPA in performing the engagement or audit”, he said.

On the appointment of the Comptroller and accountant general, Tanwone said Section 12.10 of the Public Financial management Act, as amended (PFM ACT) states “There shall be minimum qualification standards established in the regulations for the position of Comptroller and Accountant General and for Comptrollers of line ministries and agencies”

Tanwone said LICPA commends President Elect Boakai’s unwavering commitment to accountability and transparency in the management of public resources.

“Your excellency, if you are to achieve your goal, we, the Governing council and general membership of the Institute solicit your consideration to appoint professional members of the Institute as Chief financial officers and controllers at all government ministries, agencies and state owned enterprises. Whilst this is not a requirement in law at the moment, we strongly encourage you to constitute this action via Executive Order. The work of these professionals is governed by the International Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants issued by the International Ethics Standards Board for Accountants (IESBA). A body constituted by the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) to issue ethical requirements or standards for Professional Accountants”, he said.

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