I was on the website of the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement (ODCE). It's not clear to me if they are simply not updating their website or that they're just not very successful at prosecuting. There are only 2 prosecutions shown for all of 2010. Of these, one is particularly farcical, to me anyway.
€500 for acting as an auditor when not qualified to do so. Total €3,500. I'm scared to ask how much the costs of this 'successful prosecution' were. What kind of a deterrent is that for other people to pass themselves off as qualified auditors, or accountants or tax advisors etc? Imagine being able to charge people perhaps €50k for services you're not authorised/qualified to offer and, if caught, get fined a paltry amount and keep the difference?Contrary to Section 187 (1) of the Companies Act 1990, Mr. Byrne, carrying on business under the name and style of Byrne and Associates, acted as auditor of seven companies when not qualified to do so. A total of nine charges were before the Court relating to Mr. Byrne having acted as auditor for one financial year in the case of five of the companies and for two financial years in the case of two other companies.
On a plea of guilty, the Court convicted the defendant on seven of the charges, pursuant to Section 187 (6) and (9) of the Companies Act 1990 and imposed fines of €500 in respect of the each of the seven charges, totaling €3,500
In the only other prosecution case listed for 2010 a construction company was fined €1,900 for failing to keep proper accounting books.
Even enshrined in our new NAMA legislation is the derisory fine of €1,000 for lobbying NAMA. €1,000! They must be quaking in their boots! Who on earth thought €1,000, in this day and age, was a suitable deterrent for trying to influence perhaps the most important agency in the history of the State?
Is the ODCE and Company Law in Ireland up to the job in 2010 and beyond? From what I can see there are serious questions to be asked and some serious reform of existing laws badly needed. Thoughts?