Easy Office

Secretary Auditor penalty for omitting related party information

CS Divesh Goyal , Last updated: 25 May 2023  
  Share


SHORT SUMMARY

This is a classic example of a secretarial auditor being penalized by the Registrar of Companies for failing to report material related party transactions in their secretarial audit report.The practicing company secretaries are no longer hiding behind the argument that the financial statements are solely examined by the statutory auditors and that the PCS are unconcerned about disclosures in financial statements.

Secretary Auditor penalty for omitting related party information

The Case is about the listed Company M/s. Sun Pharmaceutical Industries and M/s. CJ Goswami & Associates their Practicing Company Secretary were appointed as Secretarial Auditors.

The appreciative step is taken by the Ministry of Corporate Affairs as conducting the enquiry as per section 206 of the company act 2013 for maintenance of the good governance.

FACTS OF THE CASE

  • The Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) directed an investigation into the affairs of M/s. Sun Pharmaceutical Industries Limited under Section 206(4) of the Companies Act 2013 for the financial years 2014-15, 2015-16, 2016-17, and 2017-18.
  • Following the investigation, the regulator issued a show cause notice to the secretarial auditor for failing to report Aditya Medisales Limited as related parties in the secretarial audit report issued to the company for the financial years 2014-15, 2015-16, and 2016-17, as required by IndAS-24 / AS-18..
  • In response to the regulator's notification, M/s C.J. Goswami & Associates made a written response on December 22, 2022, which was recorded by the Registrar of Companies.
  • Following that, because the Registrar of Companies was dissatisfied with the reply given by the practicing company secretaries firm, he issued a personal hearing notice, setting the personal hearing for March 28th, 2023.
 

On the day of the hearing, the Practising Company Secretaries presented significant data stating:

  • The Ministry of Corporate Affairs had already prescribed the format for the secretarial audit report in form no MR-3 under the provision of section 204 of the Companies Act, and the Institute of Company Secretaries of India decided at its 226th meeting on November 21, 2014, that the provisions relating to the audit of the company's accounts and financial statements are dealt with by the statutory auditors or other designated professionals.
  • The PCS further submitted that based on the reports given by the statutory auditors for the reporting period, the practicing secretarial auditors firm believed that the company was in compliance with the provisions of section 133 of the Companies Act 2013 relating to the accounting standards.
  1. The PCS also stated that, based on the statutory auditors' reports for the reporting period, the practising secretarial auditors firm thought that the company was in accordance with the accounting standards provisions of Section 133 of the Companies Act 2013.
  2. In addition to the foregoing, the PCS informed the Registrar of Companies that the Institute of Company Secretaries of India had issued a guidance note from time to time to help/assist the Institute's members in carrying out secretarial audit responsibilities. PCS also supplied an excerpt from the ICSI guiding notes issued on May 14, 2018.

SUBMISSIONS MADE BY THE PRESENTING OFFICER

  • The Presenting Office also claimed that instead of complying with his obligation under section 188 of the Companies Act 2013, the secretarial auditor just relied on the statutory auditor's report.
  • The provisions relating to audit of accounts and financial statements of company were dealt with in the statutory audit, according to the scope of secretarial audit as decided by the ICSI at its 226th meeting, and the secretarial auditor may rely on the report given by the statutory auditor or other designated professional may be only partially significant.
  • Because the clause respecting related parties under Sections 2(76) and 188 of the Companies Act 2013 fell under the scope of the company's secretarial auditor. According to the ICSI's guidance note on secretarial audit, non-reporting of related parties in fiscal years 2014-15, 2015-16, and 2016-17 fell under the ambit of the secretarial auditor's obligation.

THE ORDER ISSUED BY THE COMPANY REGISTRAR / ADJUDICATING OFFICER

After considering the facts and circumstances stated by the Presenting Officer, counter submissions made by the secretarial auditor, and the aforementioned facts and circumstances, the Registrar of Companies and Adjudicating Officer had reasonable cause to believe that the secretarial auditor of the company had failed to discharge their duty as per the provisions of section 143(14) read with sections 188 and 204 of the Companies Act 2013 read with the Guidance Note issued.

 

PENALTY

The Registrar of Companies / Adjudicating Officer agreed that the penalty was proportionate to the failure to comply with Section 143 (14) read with Sections 188 and 204 of the Companies Act 2013.

Financial year

Name of Auditor's firm

Penalty as per section 450 of the Co' Act 2013

Maximum penalty Rs.

Penalty Imposed Rs.

2014-15

Firm's Name of the Practicing Company Secretary

10,000 + 1000 per day

50000

50000

2015-16

10,000 + 1000 per day

50000

50000

2016-17

10,000 + 1000 per day

50000

50000

TOTAL

 

150000

CONCLUSION

As a Company Secretary, I believe it is an eye-opening order by ROC. We, as Company Secretaries, are obligated to audit all Acts pertaining to the Company. We should review the disclosures in the financial statements, Auditors Report, and so forth. Because the requirements of the Companies Act of 2013 regulate this.

One could argue that not only a Secretarial Auditor but also a professional certifying MGT-7 and MGT-8 must ensure compliance with the provisions of the Companies Act, 2013. Because it is the professional's responsibility to check the same before certification.


Published by

CS Divesh Goyal
(Practicing Compnay Secretary)
Category Corporate Law   Report

  2719 Views

Comments


Related Articles


Loading