Monday, 7 December 2015

SC punishes audit company

Announcement by the Malaysian Securities Commission:

Audit Oversight Board Revokes Registration of Auditor for the First Time

The Audit Oversight Board (AOB) has revoked the registration of an audit firm Wong Weng Foo & Co along with the Managing Partner, Wong Weng Foo and its Partner, Abdul Halim Husin effective from 2 December 2015.

The revocation is under section 31Q(1)(a)(B) of the Securities Commission Malaysia Act 1993 (SCMA) for failure to remain fit and proper to audit public interest entities.

The SCMA gives AOB the power to revoke the registration of an auditor if the auditor contravenes condition of registrations imposed by the AOB under section 31O(3) of the SCMA.

Wong Weng Foo & Co, Wong Weng Foo and Abdul Halim Husin were found to have failed to comply with auditing standards in the engagement performance of two public listed entities. In addition, Wong Weng Foo & Co failed to carry out the practice honestly, competently and with due care when it failed to implement the remedial action as reported to AOB in respect of past inspection findings.

Wong Weng Foo & Co also failed to ensure that the person who audits the financial statement of a public listed entity on behalf of the audit firm is appropriately qualified, sufficiently trained and competent.

Announcement by the US Securities and Exchange Commission:

Grant Thornton Ignored Red Flags in Audits

The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced that national audit firm Grant Thornton LLP and two of its partners agreed to settle charges that they ignored red flags and fraud risks while conducting deficient audits of two publicly traded companies that wound up facing SEC enforcement actions for improper accounting and other violations.

Grant Thornton admitted wrongdoing and agreed to forfeit approximately $1.5 million in audit fees and interest plus pay a $3 million penalty.

Melissa Koeppel was an engagement partner on the deficient audits of both companies, and Jeffrey Robinson was an engagement partner on one of the deficient audits, which spanned from 2009 to 2011 and involved senior housing provider Assisted Living Concepts (ALC) and alternative energy company Broadwind Energy.  An SEC investigation found that Grant Thornton and the engagement partners repeatedly violated professional standards, and their inaction allowed the companies to make numerous false and misleading public filings.

Pretty similar announcements, one could say, but there are some crucial differences.

The US announcement does name the listed companies, the Malaysian (unfortunately) not. In the latter case the shareholders of the companies involved do not know what happened to the audits, if the management was involved, if any action has to be taken.

Also, there is a very detailed description given in the US case (please visit this website for more information including some links), but not in the Malaysian case.

It is good that some enforcement has been meted out by the Securities Commission, but more information what exactly happened would be helpful.


  1. For the WWF case, I think the listed companies which is stated in the article may be related to London Biscuits and Cocoaland. It's not that hard to do some digging given the convenience of the internet now. I tried to use Google and managed to find the audited financial statements for 2011 and 2012 signed by that firm. Hope this helps.

  2. Thanks, they did audit more listed companies, as far as I am aware.