The “Independent” Auditor’s Obligations

The “Independent” Auditor is engaged to protect the financial interests of the Members and Beneficiaries of the Fund. The Auditor is paid for his or her services from the assets of the Fund and not out of the Trustee’s own pocket.

The loyalty of the Auditor should be to the Members and Beneficiaries and not to the Trustee who appointed the Auditor.

The Auditor of the AusBev Superannuation Fund is a partner of the International Accounting Firm – PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).

In January 2007, a Member lodged a written request with the Trustee for copies of the Trust Deed and Governing Rules in accordance with subsection 1017C(5) of the Corporations Act 2001 and Regulation 7.9.45 of the Corporations Regulations 2001 so that this Member might obtain his own legal advice of his superannuation entitlements.

It is a criminal offence for a Responsible Officer, such as the Fund Secretary, to contravene subsection 1017C(5) of the Corporations Act 2001 under Item 297B of Schedule 3 of the Corporations Act 2001.

The Fund Secretary ignored repeated requests for copies of these and other prescribed Trust Documents even thought it is a criminal Offence to do so.

The Auditors of Government Regulated Superannuation Funds have to be approved by the Prudential Regulator – APRA.

The Auditor is required to produce the annual audit report in accordance with the APRA  Section 35C – Approved form.

This completed Audit Report has to then be lodged with APRA under Section 36 of the Superannuation Industry (Supervision) Act 1993.

Under Part 2(B) – Compliance the Auditor has to certify that the Trustee has complied with the following Sections of the Corporations Act 2001.

Note that the Auditor is required to certify compliance with subsections 1017C(2) and 1017C(5) of the Corporations Act 2001.

Since the Fund Secretary and other Responsible Officers of the Fund had contravened both subsections 1017C(2) and 1017C(5) for the following Financial Years:

  • 30 June 2007
  • 30 June 2008
  • 30 June 2009
  • 30 June 2010

A Member wrote to the “Independent Auditor in early 2011 and advise that the Auditor should re-state his Part 2 (B) Compliance Reports for the above years since the Fund Secretary and other Responsible Officers had contravened subsection 1017C(5) during each of the years listed above and subsection 1017C(2) in 2010.

Even though the contravention of either subsection 1017C(2) and 1017C(5) is a criminal offence, the Audit Partner refuse to qualify any of his Part 2 (B) Compliance Reports as confirmed in a letter dated 17 February 2011.

Even though the criminal contraventions have continued through to 30 June 2011 and are still continuing, the Auditor confirmed in the 30 June 2011 Audit Report that these Responsible Officers had complied with subsections 1017C(2) and 1017C(5) of the Corporations Act 2001!

Furthermore the Auditor has a legal obligation to report suspected contraventions of the Corporations Act 2001 to ASIC as required by Section 311 of the Corporations Act 2001.

There are no indications that the “independent” Auditor has done so, even though it is a irreducible core obligation (per Lord Justice Millet) of all Trustees to account for their stewardship of a Trust (Fund) to the Beneficiaries (and members) of that Trust (Fund).

The “Independent” Auditor has been asked on behalf of the Fund Membership to investigate “The Matter of the Pensions“, however the Auditor has undertaken no investigation of the unaccounted 2000% sudden increase in pension payment in 2009.

Members of this Fund should be very concerned by the actions or in-actions of the “Independent” Auditor who has been engaged to protect their financial interests.

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