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OF CONCERN TO ACCOUNTING STUDENTS, ACCOUNTANTS,
AND THE GENERAL PUBLIC
CGA'S IN CANADA - WHAT'S WRONG WITH THEM?
Over the past year, national media have been filling the news with stories of major scandals involving prominent CERTIFIED GENERAL ACCOUNTANTS (CGA's) in Canada .
In Alberta , the media have had a field day, reporting on the fact that the Past President of CGA Alberta, a CGA and FCGA, was under investigation on a complaint by the HONGKONG BANK to the RCMP Commercial Crime Division.The HK Bank was complaining about William Mearns, who had been for 12 years the Controller/Treasurer of the County of Red Deer, Alberta.
Mearns has now been charged with 14 serious criminal charges, as reported in the Edmonton Sun, Red Deer Advocate, and CFRN-TV. Among the charges are 5 charges of uttering forged documents, another 5 charges of making a false document, 2 charges of forgery, one more charge of fraud, and one of theft over $5,000.00.
More than ONE MILLION DOLLARS is reported to be missing, from the County of Red Deer, for which Mearns was the County Controller/Treasurer.
In the past year Mearns and one of his businesses have both gone bankrupt.
At the end of 1995, without any advice to the general public or even to Members of CGA Alberta, Mearns was allowed to SECRETLY RESIGN both his CGA and FCGA designations. This seems to be a first for Canada, where an FCGA surrenders what was supposed to be a prestigious designation.
Mind you, Mearns got his FCGA in connection with his work in 1987-1988, where he was involved withthe admission to CGA Alberta of unqualified bookkeepers, who were given the CGA designation, without any requirement for education, qualifications, experience, NO EXAMS, or even a requirement for upgrading courses to bring them up to an acceptable standard. CGA Alberta of course benefitted financially, from the huge increase in dues and fees from these new members.
The Vancouver Sun and other national media recently carried banner headlines regarding Roman Evancic CGA and FCGA, who had got himself SHOT !!This was apparently in connection with some business partner and a collections problem. The news reported that the assailant said, as he shot Evancic:"I'm from your stock brokers. I understand you ripped him off" (per Vancouver Sun - 11 January 1996).
And don't forget the scandal exposed on national TV of the Surrey,B.C. CGA, convicted of embezzling millions of dollars from fellow parishioners of his church.
Are these published reports, as well as others, part of the reason that the Maritime Provinces have successfully maintained that CGA's in those provinces ARE NOT QUALIFIED to perform public audits? Could it have something to do with the fact that an unqualified CGA from Alberta could move to the Maritimes, and even though unqualified, could still call himself a CGA there?
Students of accounting in S.E.Asia, and the Caribbean, who have to pay many thousands of dollars to obtain your designation, how do you feel about these "gwaliau" who got the CGA for free?
Students of accounting, public accountants, members of the public and financial institutions who are concerned about credibility in the accounting profession are invited to respond.
9208 - 137 Avenue , DEADMONTON, Alberta
CANADA T5E 1Y5
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