By the MIA Surveillance and Enforcement Team
It is essential that members understand the procedures of MIA’s enforcement proceedings. One channel to strengthen members’ awareness is through articles published on eAT, MIA’s knowledge gateway.
On 22 June 2021, eAT published an article on Brief Hearing Procedures in DC Proceedings. This is a continuation of the said article¹.
When a Respondent does not admit to the Charge proffered against him by the Investigation Committee (‘IC’), the Disciplinary Committee (‘DC’) will proceed to schedule the matter for a full hearing and in that, the DC is empowered to regulate its own procedures as it deems fit and necessary².
Briefly, the process during the hearing is as follows:
- The representative of the IC will present its case, by calling witness(es) and tendering documents, if necessary. Any document referred to shall also be made available to the Respondent. The Respondent/legal counsel has a right to cross-examine the witness(es) produced by the IC. The IC’s representative may re-examine its witness(es), if necessary.
- The Respondent may then call his witness(es) and tender documents, to defend his case where necessary. Any document referred to shall also be made available to the representative of the IC. The representative of the IC may cross-examine the Respondent’s witness(es) and be allowed to be re-examined by the Respondent/legal counsel.
- Both the IC and the Respondent will then be given the opportunity to make final submissions on any facts or points of law for the DC’s consideration. No new evidence may be brought at this stage.
- The DC will proceed to deliberate and decide whether the Charge against the Respondent is established or otherwise based on the evidence and submissions put forward by both the Respondent and the IC.
- If the DC finds the Charge against the Respondent is established, the DC shall impose any one or a combination of the disciplinary punishments as specified in the MIA (Disciplinary) Rules 2002³.
- In deciding punishment(s) to be imposed on the Respondent, the DC will consider both the mitigating and the aggravating factors submitted by the Respondent and the IC respectively. Mitigating points from the Respondent may include factors such as prompt rectification of a failure or breach, prolonged illness (with supporting medical report), Respondent’s attitude and actions during investigation/disciplinary hearing. On the other hand, aggravating factors from the IC may also include severity of the charge/misconduct, dishonesty, harm or adverse impact on client and/or public, habitual offence, lack of co-operation during investigation/disciplinary hearing and concealment of wrongdoing. It is to be noted that these lists are not exhaustive.
- Once the decision has taken effect, i.e., no appeal lodged by the Respondent in accordance with the Rules⁴, the decision and the name of the member will be published in the publications prescribed under the Rules. In terms of publication, the decision as well as the name of the member will be published in the government gazette, the Institute’s official publication, 2 daily newspapers, Institute’s official website and any other publication as determined by the Council. The relevant government licensing authorities, association(s) of accountants that the Respondent is associated with and any other body, corporate or unincorporated will also be informed of the decision against the Respondent, whose name will be mentioned.
- However, if the DC finds the Charge against the Respondent is not established, the Charge will be dismissed, and the matter will be deemed closed by the DC.
¹ Brief Hearing Procedures in DC proceeding – Accountant’s Today (Published on 22 June 2021).
² Rule 17 of the MIA Disciplinary) Rules 2002.
³ Rule 18(3) (a) to (g) of the MIA (Disciplinary) Rules 2002.
⁴ Rule 19 and Rule 26 of the MIA (Disciplinary) Rules 2002.