MONROVIA: As President Joseph Nyuma Boakai makes bold his decision to audit the past administration so as to ascertain what he is inheriting as well as combating corruption and promoting transparency, the Liberia Institute for Certified Public Accountants(LICPA), through its President, Mr. Victor SBK Tanwone has said the plan by the President is welcoming as it will set a precedence for governance just as LICPA urged the President to consider looking the direction of the local Liberian auditing firms as they are competing to conduct professional and unbiased audits that will meet international best practice.
Speaking in an exclusive interview yesterday with The Analyst, Mr. Tanwone said that as a professional organization that has worked with the government over the years to bring probity, accountability and transparency to governance, “we see the direction of the new dispensation in terms of defining its objectives with respect to accountability and transparency as a right step in the right direction and we as an organization will give the government the necessary support to the hilt”.
When asked what was the impression of LICPA about President Boakai’s decision to hire foreign firms to carry out audits on the former government, Mr. Tanwone said LICPA has taken keen interest in the President ’s pronouncement about his intention to hire the services of foreign audit firms to conduct audit of the stewardship of past government officials, the decision according him is applauded by LICPA but the President should also look inward and give the opportunities to the local audit firms who are equally qualified and competent to deliver similar services like their foreign counterparts.
“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 there 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.
He said by doing so, President Boakai would have demonstrated his desire to promote “made in Liberia” products in the sense of first believing that Liberian businesses have competitive competence to work for the growth and development of the Liberian economy and create for themselves the niche as a player in a conducive and competitive environment.
Speaking further on accountability and transparency, Tanwone commended President Boakai’s unwavering commitment to accountability and transparency in the management of public resources and urged him that if he wants to achieve his goals, he should appoint professional members of the institute as chief financial officers and comptrollers at all government ministries, agencies and state owned enterprises.
While admitting that it was not a requirement in law at the moment, he will strongly encourage the President to constitute this action through Executive Order.
“The work of these professionals is governed by 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”, Tanwone said.
Tanwone who was unanimously elected as the 28th President of the Accountancy Bodies of West Africa(ABWA) during the 99th ABWA Council Meeting held in Banjul, Gambia in September, 2023 also used the occasion to send out a clear caution to the public that there are numerous fake audit firms and individuals out there parading themselves as Certified Public Accountants(CPAs) or otherwise.
He said LICPA is the only legal body constituted and authorized by law to grant licenses to qualified individuals or firms to practice or offer accounting, audit and other assurance services in Liberia. He said individuals and entities hiring the services of these fake individuals are in violation of the laws and will be prosecuted if caught.
The Liberian Institute of Certified Public Accountants (LICPA) is the successor of the Institute of Certified Public Accountants, Liberia (LICPA) which was established by an Act of the National Legislature in 1933. It was established by an Act of the National Legislature in June 2011 to regulate the accounting profession in Liberia. The LICPA is empowered to set standards, license accounting and assurance practitioners, build capacity and do all things appertaining to regulating the accounting and assurance professions aimed at building a strong and vibrant public accounting sector in the country.