I move amendment No. 38:
In page 58, between lines 17 and 18, to insert the following:
“Investigation by disciplinary committees of prescribed accountancy bodies
94. The Principal Act is amended by the insertion of the following section after section 931:
“931A. (1) In this section—
‘client’ has the same meaning as it has in section 934;
‘relevant person’ in relation to an investigation of a member of a prescribed accountancy body, means—
(a) a member of the prescribed accountancy body,
(b) a client or former client of such member,
(c) if the client or former client is a body corporate, a person who is or was an officer, employee or agent of the client or former client,
(d) the prescribed accountancy body or a person who is or was an officer, employee or agent of that body, or
(e) any person whom the prescribed accountancy body reasonably believes has information or documents relating to the investigation other than information or documents the disclosure of which is prohibited or restricted by law.
(2) For the purposes of an investigation of a possible breach of a prescribed accountancy body’s standards by a member, a disciplinary committee may require a relevant person to do one or more of the following:
(a) produce to the committee all books or documents relating to the investigation that are in the relevant person’s possession or control;
(b) attend before the committee;
(c) give the committee any other assistance in connection with the investigation that the relevant person is reasonably able to give.
(3) For the purposes of an investigation referred to in subsection (2), the disciplinary committee may—
(a) examine on oath, either by word of mouth or on written interrogatories, a relevant person,
(b) administer oaths, for the purpose of that examination, and
(c) record, in writing, answers of a person so examined and require that person to sign them.
(4) The disciplinary committee may certify the refusal or failure to the Court if a relevant person refuses or fails to do one or more of the following:
(a) produce to the committee any book or document that it is the person’s duty under this section to produce;
(b) attend before the committee when required to do so under this section;
(c) answer a question put to the person by the committee with respect to the matter under investigation.
(5) On receiving a certificate of refusal or failure concerning a relevant person, the Court may enquire into the case and, after hearing any evidence that may be adduced, may do one or more of the following:
(a) direct that the relevant person attend or re-attend before the disciplinary committee or produce particular books or documents or answer particular questions put to him or her by the committee;
(b) direct that the relevant person need not produce a particular book or document or answer a particular question put to him or her by that committee;
(c) make any other ancillary or consequential order or give any other direction that the Court thinks fit.
(6) The production of any books or documents under this section by a person who claims a lien on them does not prejudice the lien.
(7) Any information produced or answer given by a member of a prescribed accountancy body in compliance with a requirement under this section may be used in evidence against the member in any proceedings whatsoever, save proceedings for an offence (other than perjury in respect of such an answer).”.”.
This is a technical amendment. Amendment No. 38 reinstates a provision that was inadvertently left out during the consolidation of the Companies Act 2014. Section 192A of the Companies Act 1990 provided the statutory backing for the disciplinary procedures of the nine prescribed accountancy bodies in Ireland. This section provides for the establishment, procedures and powers of disciplinary committees that look into alleged breaches of standards. Through an oversight, section 192A was not carried over into the Companies Act 2014. Amendment No. 38 rectifies that omission and reinstates the section in its entirety in Part 15 of the Companies Act.