I move amendment No. 240:
In page 146, between lines 36 and 37, to insert the following subsections:
"(2) Where the auditors form the opinion that the company has contravened section 198 but that, following such contravention, the directors of the company have taken the necessary steps to ensure that proper books of account are kept as required by that section, subsection (1) (b) shall not apply.
(3) This section shall not require the auditors to make the notifications referred to in subsection (1) if they are of opinion that the contraventions concerned are minor or otherwise immaterial in nature.".
Section 194 provides that where a company's auditors form the opinion that the company is not keeping or has not kept proper books of accounts, they must notify the company and the Registrar of Companies of that fact within seven days of forming such an opinion. Amendment No. 240 would modify the requirements of section 194 in two ways. The section currently requires the auditor to notify the company and the registrar of two things: first, where the company is contravening section 198 which requires proper books of accounts to be kept, or, secondly, where the company has contravened that section. In the second of these cases, in other words where the contravention is in the past, it has been suggested to the Department that the company might actually have put its house in order in the meantime and, that in such situations, the duty in subsection (1) (b) to notify the Registrar of Companies, ought not to apply. This is a reasonable proposition and subsection (2) provides accordingly.
Second, I feel the existing section is somewhat rigid and inflexible. It applies even to the slightest, most minor departures from the rules of section 198 about keeping proper books of accounts. I do not think this particular section ought to concern itself with such minor sins since that would be applying an element of over-kill to the situation. The proposed new subsection (3) would make this clear.