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May 3, 2016

News brief: ZICA president asks if accountants are guns for hire on the back of the Panama Papers

On the back of the Panama Papers leaks, the president of the Zambia Institute of Chartered Accountants (ZICA) Wesley Beene said the accountancy profession is being branded as "guns for hire", according to national newspaper The Post.

The Post reported that Beene was speaking at a ZICA’s pre-annual general meeting workshop entitled: "Enhancing ethical conduct and management of resources by accountants".

"This is an important theme given that the accountancy profession is being questioned about the ethical responsibilities it played in the light of the recent publication of the Panama Papers," Beene said.

His speech was published on ZICA’s Facebook page.

"These documents have given rise to allegations of tax evasion, money laundering and corruption on a staggering scale — all of it facilitated by various members of the legal and accounting professions.

"These shocking revelations have harmed society so much so that as society’s gatekeepers we are now being branded as ‘guns for hire".

Beene continued:

"Are we guns for hire or not? We should not only aim at offering financial or commercial self-interest for our clients or employers but we should be ready to draw ethical lines, which we will not cross.

"Because crossing these lines will mean getting our hands dirty – and become complicit in wrongdoing."

Meanwhile, the Times of Zambia reported that during the curse of ZICA’s annual ball, Zambia President Edgar Lungu said the country’s debt burden was still sustainable.

"I am pleased to inform you that the country’s debt burden is still sustainable with more room for future Government spending on infrastructure," Lungu said.

He added: "Plans are underway to commence diversification within the mining industry by moving away from copper to exploit other minerals which we are endowed with such as gold, gemstones, diamonds and manganese just to mention a few."

Lungu’s speech was read on his behalf by Raymond Mpundu, a deputy minister of Zambia’s government.

In April ZICA joined Chartered Accountants Worldwide (CAW) as an associate member, becoming the second representative from an African country.

During the last year CAW has welcomed three associate members: the Institute of Singapore Chartered Accountants in June 2015 and the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Pakistan who joined in February 2016. ZICA is the third one to join the club.

ZICA has 5,858 members and is a full member of the International Federation of Accountants.

The institute joined the five CAW founding members from the UK, Ireland, South Africa, New Zealand and Australia:

  • Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand,
  • Chartered Accountants Ireland,
  • The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales,
  • The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland and
  • The South African Institute of Chartered Accountants

Related stories

Comment – Panama Papers: If tax avoidance is legal, punish those who procure it and benefit from itComment – Panama Papers and tax in the boardroom

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