ICA under fire over 'pathetic' Jordan fine

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THE Institute of Chartered Accountants has been heavily criticised by members over the limited penalties on Michael Jordan and Richard Stone, the administrators of Polly Peck International, for breach of ethics rules.

Accountants in industry and public practice claim the pounds 1,000 fines and reprimands imposed on Mr Jordan and Mr Stone by the institute's disciplinary committee on Thursday undermine the public's confidence in the profession's ability to regulate itself.

The fines were the maximum available at the time of the offence, but the disciplinary committee could have taken away their practising licences.

Mr Jordan, senior partner of Cork Gully, the insolvency practice, and Mr Stone, a partner with Coopers & Lybrand, which incorporates Cork Gully, were found to have failed to comply with the institute's by-laws in accepting the Polly Peck appointment in October 1990, when their firm had a potential conflict of interest through advising the company.

Douglas Llambias, who runs an accountancy recruitment firm, said: 'To be found guilty and fined pounds 1,000 looks like a total whitewash.'

Austin Mitchell, the Labour MP who has long been a fervent critic of the professions, supported the outcry, calling the decision 'a pathetic response'.