For the past few months, some members of the INSTITUTE OF CHATERED ACCOUNTANTS OF NIGERIA, ICAN, have been at logger head with the institute’s top management over alleged extortion and other unethical practices. SECURITY MONITOR’s Senior Correspondent ’Biodun Lawal who have been monitoring the development file in this report.
Created by an act of parliament, the Institute of Chartered Accountant of Nigeria, ICAN has over the years maintained a statue of honor and dignity, having carved a niche for itself in its constitutional mandate. Recently however, it appears that ICAN has swallowed more than what it can chew as numerous allegations of unethical practices ranging from breach of the law that established it to illegal charges and financial inaccuracy.
SECURITY MONITOR scoops that the only legal money payable to ICAN by accounting practitioners in Nigeria is the Annual subscription fee. This, according to findings is in accordance to the provision of section 15.2a of ICAN Act. Payments of this money automatically qualifies practitioner’s name to be included in the Financial Membership list.
Contrarily, accounting practitioners in Nigeria are being compelled to pay more as the apex accounting body was said to have” introduced various illegal charges and levies that are not within its code and conduct”. Some members whose names were deleted from the Financial Membership list over their failure to pay for the newly introduced Faculty fee challenge the legality of such money. They claim that aside the legality of the faculty fee newly created by the ICAN management, the institute of Chartered Accountant of Nigeria (ICAN) Act of 01/09/1965 (CAP III, 2004, Laws of the Federation of Nigerian does not make provision for the creation of faculty by ICAN nor the collection of the fee outside the Annual subscription.
Some senior accounting practitioners whose names were “deliberately removed from the Financial list” are of the opinion that assuming “they ought to pay the faculty fee, ICAN does not have legal right to remove the names of those that have paid the annual subscription fee which is the only legally recognized financial requirement for being in the financial list.
Undoubtedly, the institute has in recent times introduced new charges even when some members resisted not paying such money, stressing that the “membership year Book, Development Levy, Faculty fee and Delisting fee are not contained in ICAN Act therefor is illegal”.
A cross section of ICAN financial members who spoke to SECURITY MONITOR said that “having consistently denied the fringe benefits of financial membership such as prompt receipt of all ICAN Periodic journals, discounts from strategic organizations, a dedicated ICAN identity card issued to members for such purpose the institute management lacks the both the legal and moral muscle to enforce unconstitutional and self-made opinion of the current leadership of ICAN”.
The institute is also alleged to have turn the management practice into secrecy as many ICAN members claim ignorance of the running of ICAN, how appointment into ICAN committees, selection as Examiners or Assessors of the institute’s Examination as well as speakers on MCPE and power to vote and be voted for during the institute’s election.
For instance all members supposed to enjoy life assurance policy from a reputable insurance company in accordance with ICAN Gazette but, to many “such policy only exist theoretically and not to be implemented”. The question on the lips of many accountants who are duly registered as ICAN members and who have paid their subscription fees up till date is that the management of ICAN should produce the life assurance policy documents put in place for financial members.
SECURITY MONITOR’s findings reveal that some aggrieved members have concluded plans to take legal actions against the management which they accuse of in fraudulent practices. When our investigative journalists visited ICAN Headquarters at Victoria Island Lagos none of the officials were said to be on sit. The security men at the entrance denied our men access to the building promised to submit our enquiries to the ICAN spokesperson. Two weeks after then, the spokesperson never get back to us despite several other attempts.