Govt looking at criteria for fraud reporting by auditors

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NEW DELHI: The Corporate Affairs Ministry is looking at the possibility of having thresholds of the quantum of frauds at companies that need to be mandatorily reported by concerned auditors to the government.

In this regard, the government has sought suggestions from ICAI, the apex body for chartered accountants, Parliament was informed today.

Under the Companies Act, 2013, auditors have the responsibility of reporting frauds, at entities being audited by them, according to the ministry.

“The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) has been asked to give its comments on the feasibility of having some criteria to determine the thresholds of the quantum of a fraud/suspected fraud for mandatory reporting to the government by the auditors,” Minister of State for Corporate Affairs Nirmala Sitharaman said in a written reply to the Rajya Sabha.

She was responding to a query on whether the norms relating to communication of auditor’s report to government in cases of irregularities, embezzlement was under review.

About various concerns of the stakeholders with certain provisions of the new companies law, Sitharaman said that the ministry had “issued suitable circulars, statutory orders and amendments in the rules to provide transitional time, remove doubts or practical difficulties”.

She added that amendments in the Companies Act 2013 “will be considered” if such measures “prove inadequate”.

To a query on whether independent directors would be held responsible for decisions taken by the company’s board, the minister said: “Section 149(12) of the Act already grants protection to the independent directors from prosecution in matters which had not occurred with their knowledge, consent, connivance or where they had acted diligently”.

To a separate question on funds utilised by firms towards Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), Sitharaman said that the details of the same would be available only after September 2015.

“Details about the funds utilised by the companies under the CSR would be available to the Ministry of Corporate affairs only after the mandatory disclosures of CSR expenditure are made by companies, which would be due within six months after completion of financial a year 2014-15 that is September 2015,” Sitharaman said.

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