Ian McPhee's whitewash on CPA's Alex Malley era is imminent
by Joe Aston
The final report of CPA Australia's "independent review panel" headed by former Commonwealth auditor-general Ian McPhee is planned for public release this week.
And after the pain of such a bawdy conflict, the (limited) catharsis of Alex Malley's sacking, the entire board's overthrow and the promises of transparency evermore, heartbreakingly, shamefully, the new directors are set to squib it.
Two immortal aphorisms regrettably come to mind. The first, Sir Humphrey's observation that you "never start an inquiry unless you know what its findings will be". The second, Jack Lang's: "In the race of life, always back self-interest."
Because thus far, the independence of McPhee's panel is plainly arguable. McPhee is an adviser to the same international accounting body in New York that at the time of his appointment Malley also was. And, astoundingly, both the CPA and the panel refuse to disclose how much (of members' money) is changing hands between them.
The rigour of the panel's inquiries simply isn't arguable. The preliminary report released in September was a whitewash, handed down while Malley's chief enablers and apologists Graeme Wade (also NBL chairman which, naturally, CPA pays $756,000 to sponsor) and Richard Petty (Malley's old mate from Macquarie Uni) were still on the board.
By the panel's own admission, it never even looked at Malley's employment contract – the (last) one that we're asked to blindly accept entitled him to a scandalous termination payment of $4.9 million. It is unthinkable that any credible inquiry – let alone one chaired by the Australian Government's former chief auditor – did not parse this ground thoroughly. Not to do so is the (admittedly hyperbolic) equivalent of McPhee helming the royal commissions into trade unions and churches, flicking through a few psalms and Das Kapital and declaring the book shut.
The panel also recommended against sacking the board, citing "a need to have a level of existing knowledge and understanding". Thankfully, CPA members appreciated just how well this existing knowledge and understanding had served them, and the board has been purged en masse.
The panel praised the expunged regime for holding this year's AGM in Singapore as members clamoured for answers. The 2018 AGM is being held in Melbourne on May 22.
The panel conducted no inquiries into potential related-party transactions, the unproven tales of which, among the membership, are legendary.
And the panel shone no light on expenditure by or for management and directors on international travel, entertainment or other general expedience.
Unless it completely changes tack from September's effort, McPhee's final report will be discredited upon arrival. And by its own utterly mysterious impotence, this new and (so far) nameless board is about to kickstart CPA's governance crisis and member revolt. These supposed cleanskins – several of whom, as second-tier officeholders, sat servilely through the Malley era, craving preferment, and (by the measure of any ordinary person) its lavish bounties – will now approve McPhee's final dossier, under the watchful eye of two stalwarts of CPA's previous dirty epoch, Jim Dickson and Sharon Portelli. A gentle verdict achieved, both will alight, finally, on December 31.
Read more: http://www.afr.com/brand/rear-window/ia ... z4zmlfU2KN
|Merry Christmas to Peter Wilson. When it was suggested that Peter Wilson should be independent of the old board so that we can have a fresh start Peter responded with "That's your issue". Summary of the meeting here: viewtopic.php?f=23&t=594|
A good summary of where we are up to by Joe Aston of the AFR, linked to from here: viewtopic.php?f=5&p=4137#p4137
If you are new to this website read the story so far: viewtopic.php?t=321#p1793
Check out some of the AFR articles, too many to list and check out some of the ABC reports: http://www.afr.com/business/accounting/ ... 215-h055ej http://www.afr.com/business/accounting/ ... 211-h02x1d http://www.abc.net.au/news/programs/the ... s,/8626662
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