Jailed director struck off as accountant

By Ben Chapman-Smith

Former Bridgecorp director Gary Urwin appearing in the High Court in Auckland in April. Photo / Greg Bowker
Former Bridgecorp director Gary Urwin appearing in the High Court in Auckland in April. Photo / Greg Bowker

Jailed former Bridgecorp director Gary Urwin has been struck off the professional body of chartered accountants and ordered to pay $7000.

Urwin was sentenced in April to two years behind bars after pleading guilty to 10 charges of misleading investors.

Last week, his case was brought before the New Zealand Institute of Chartered Accountants (NZICA) Disciplinary Tribunal in Wellington.

Urwin did not attend the tribunal or enter a plea, and was not represented by counsel.

The tribunal said in its determination that Urwin's convictions reflected on his fitness to practise accountancy and tended to bring the profession into disrepute.

"The Tribunal considers that in order to protect the public interest and maintain professional standards, it is necessary to remove the member's name from the Institute's register of members.

"Financial-related offending of such seriousness as to warrant two years imprisonment is incompatible with membership of the Institute."

Urwin pleaded guilty at the High Court in Auckland to distributing a prospectus containing an untrue statement and distributing an investment statement containing an untrue statement.

The tribunal ordered that Urwin's name be removed from the institute's register of members. It also told Urwin to pay the NZICA $7,000 for costs and expenses.

Three other accountants had their cases heard before the Disciplinary Tribunal last week.

Invercargill accountant James Bartholomew Hennessy was censured and ordered to pay $19,376 after he pleaded guilty to breaching the NZICA's code of ethics.

Hennessy took on the role as receiver of a farming partnership when he had had prior dealings with one of the sharemilkers involved.

The tribunal said he failed to ensure that at all times he was seen to be independent and free from conflicts of interest.

"Although the member advised the sharemilker he would no longer act for him, numerous decisions made in the course of the receivership impacted both his former sharemilker client and the outcome of the receivership," the tribunal said.

"The Code of Ethics is very explicit as to the need for independence both real and perceived."

Another accountant, John (Mick) Blair Lloyd from Tauranga, faced a number of charges which amounted to negligence and incompetence.

Among other things, Lloyd failed to perform audits adequately, recommended his clients to a fund without undertaking sufficient due diligence, and failed to obtain appropriate professional indemnity insurance cover.

He was made to pay a fine of $5000, was censured, and is not allowed to carry out audit and assurance engagements for 10 years.

Craig James Le Quesne, from Auckland, was found guilty by the tribunal of failing to meet the taxation obligations of his practice, Huddleston & Rosser Limited, as far back as 2004.

He also ran the practice in a way that led to it being placed into liquidation and sold to another accounting firm.

Le Quesne was censured, fined $6,703, and had his had Certificate of Public Practice cancelled.

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