Baker Tilly auditor Tiang Yii confirmed that, as engagement partner, she made the final call on CHC’s audit concerns; provisions for mandatory audit requirements had been made, she said.
In the afternoon session of deputy public prosecutor Mavis Chionh’s examination-in-chief of Baker Tilly auditor Tiang Yii today, the court saw email evidence containing internal discussions taking place among several of the defendants about cashflow problems on Xtron’s part.
In an email exchange dated July 2008 between Kong Hee and Tan Ye Peng, Tan voiced concerns about the possibility of Xtron becoming insolvent because it did not have sufficient funds to honor the $13m Xtron bonds which were going to mature in 2009.
As the engagement partner for CHC during the period of Jan 2006 and Jun 2007 and Xtron, Tiang had been in charge of signing off on both sets of accounts.
With losses and a net liability in its accounts, the defendants had expressed concern that Xtron would not be able to pay CHC the bond value. Tiang replied that she was not aware of this. However, she claimed that knowledge of Xtron’s cashflow problems would not have affected her preparation of CHC’s audit reports, and thus it was immaterial whether she had been in the know about the insolvency concerns.
She reiterated that the auditor’s primary role is not to ascertain the legal nor commercial aspects of a client’s business, but to ensure proper disclosure and compliance to accounting standards.
Tiang confirmed that despite having consulted senior members of the firm during the course of auditing CHC’s books, it was she alone who made the call on outstanding audit issues, such as the degree of disclosure regarding related party transactions as well as the purpose of the Xtron bonds.
Asked about the CHC management’s decision not to accept the auditors’ recommendation for full disclosure regarding the purpose of the bonds, Tiang replied that disclosure was merely a suggestion and not a mandatory requirement.
This afternoon saw the prosecution ending examination-in-chief of its 10th witness. Defense will commence its cross-examination of Tiang tomorrow morning.
Court resumes at 9:30 am tomorrow.