I was in Singapore attending the 2007 IBA Annual Conference in October when I was contacted by my office that I have an invitation to be guest speaker at the event of today and that I had a limited time to convey my acceptance. Looking at the selected topic and the institution behind the event I wondered whether as a lawyer I was qualified to deliver a dinner speech at a summit many would presume is made up of accountants engaged with the boring activity of poring over figures and numbers. For that is the traditional conception of financial reporting and auditing. Not many people were able to appreciate the relationship between financial reporting, auditing and corporate governance or better still good corporate governance.
It is in the light of the opportunity the topic offers to explore the connections between those concepts that I find the challenge of the topic daunting and at the same time exciting. I am therefore grateful to the Nigeria Accounting Standards Board for the privilege of sharing my thoughts on these matters with a most distinguished audience of professionals involved with corporate financial reporting and their regulators as represented by institutions such as NASB, ICAN and SEC amongst others. I intend to start with explanation of the concept of corporate governance and good corporate governance and then discuss the general regulatory framework for corporate governance in Nigeria before delving specifically into the role of the Audit Committee and External Auditor in achievement of good corporate governance. I will end with a few suggestions on how corporate governance can be strengthened in the area of financial reporting and corporate structures as well as internalization of good corporate governance which goes beyond mere structures.
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In a survey that was conducted in Japan in the eighties [Aoki, (1984)] regarding perceptions of ownership and interests, presidents of major firms, senior executives, and middle managers were polled regarding their perceptions of ownership. They were asked: On whose interests should corporations be run? and to whom do corporations actually belong? The results were unexpected and most revealing. The number of respondents mentioning employees as those on whose interests the firm should be run (80%) was almost as large as those mentioning stockholders (87%). And most company presidents indicated that the firm should belong to both groups.
On the question of whose interests were actually being served, the most common answer
was employees, with shareholders coming second. Again, most of the presidents mentioned both groups, but a full 20 percent indicated that shareholders' interests did not count in running the firm.
The above dramatic paradigm shift of perception in a world that is becoming more and more a global village summarizes what the concept of corporate governance is truly about.
Many people have attempted to define corporate governance but we will work with the basic definition provided by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). It defined it as a:
"â€¦system by which business corporations are directed and controlled. The corporate governance structure specifies the distribution of rights and responsibilities among different participants in the corporation such as, the board, managers, shareholders and other stakeholders, and spells out the rules and procedure for making decisions on corporate affairs. By doing this, it also provides the structure through which the company's objectives are set and the means of attaining those objectives and monitoring performance"
As with all definitions, the above definition is a good working definition, but is not comprehensive enough. It suffers from the fact that it is value neutral consequently the definition presumes that mere mechanical compliance with the rules satisfies the requirement for corporate governance even if the consequence to some sets of stakeholders such as shareholders or other public officers of the company is unfair or there is lack of transparency in the conduct of the affairs of the company. Not surprisingly therefore others have proposed a more value driven definition of corporate governance. J. Wolfensohn (1997) defined it as follows:
"Corporate governance is about promoting corporate fairness, transparency and accountability"
This value driven definition of corporate governance is in fact better referred to as good corporate governanceKalu2007-11-07T19:38:00
Always on Time
Marked to Standard
which is a system of managing the affairs of corporations with a view to increasing shareholder value and meeting the expectations
of the other stakeholders.
. It is not just about compliance with rules, it is about responsibility to all stakeholders of the company be they shareholders, staff, customers, service providers or regulators; a responsibility to be fair, transparent and accountable.
WHY IS GOOD CORPORATE GOVENANCE NECESSARY?
The concept of a company or corporate entity is a legal fiction. It is one of the forms of business associations by which under a general law upon fulfillment of certain conditions a group of persons are declared a corporate entity different from its members. In Salomon v Salomon & Co., Ltd  it was held that:
"The company is at law a different person altogether from the subscriber".
I had cause to say the following at another forum:
"This is an important consequence of incorporation. In fact, the entire concept of registered company or joint stock company was based on the desire to separate the company from its owners and give the owners limited liability. It was felt that people will thereby be encouraged to undertake business risks knowing that their liability is limited and this will result in prosperity. Unfortunately, many people have taken advantage of this consequence of incorporation to commit fraud. The history of company law has been simply a struggle between encouraging business activities and preventing fraud" 
It follows that the concept of good corporate governance is a way or system of ensuring that the fiction of separate corporate entity continues to provide a vehicle for investors to undertake business risk and create wealth and economic development without perpetrating fraud or other forms of abuse on the investors and the general public.
The recent corporate and accounting scandals of Enron, Tyco International, Peregrine Systems and Worldcom in the United States between the year 2000 and 2002 and the failure of major companies around the world like recent Parmalat bankruptcy in Italy in 2004 has brought home need to go behind mere structures in corporate governance to content of financial reporting as well as value content output of those structures. In reaction to the decline of public trust in accounting and reporting practices, the US enacted the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 (also known as the Public Company Accounting Reform and Investor Protection Act of 2002 and commonly called SOX or Sarbox) which imposed stricter regulation on governance. Hopefully we would have time to do a comparism of the US law and the provisions of our law so as to determine where we are and where we need to be. Suffice to say that in Nigeria we have had our fair share of corporate governance failures. Some of them include the AP Plc accounting scandal that led to AP Commission of Enquiry, The Bokanlans Share scandal and the recent Cadbury Plc Audit scandal which is currently subject of SEC APC proceedings with litigation spin off.
REVIEW OF REGULATORY PROVISIONS ON CORPORATE GOVERNANCE
The Nigerian statutory framework on corporate governance is expectedly multifaceted and is being continually beefed up.
The basic law on corporate governance in Nigeria is the Companies and Allied Matters Act 1990 (CAMA). This law which provides for the formation of corporate entities in the first place, also sets the time and structures for corporate governance. It provides that every corporate entity must have a Memorandum and Articles of Association which is the Constitution. (See section 35 of CAMA). This is the document setting up the structures of governance of the entity. The document is also regarded as a contract between the members of the company (See section 41 of CAMA) and the cases of Hickman v Kent or Romney Mars Sheep Breeders Association (1915) 1 Ch. 1881, 113 L.T. 159; AG Lagos state v Eko Hotels Ltd (2001) FWLR Pt 82, 1996 and obikoya v Ezenwa (1964) 2ANLR, 133).
It is by this document that the Board of Directors or Governors or Executive Council or Registered Trustees are established depending on the type of company.
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The CAMA 1990 provides numerous provisions for corporate accounting and auditing practices (auditing, disclosures, preparation and publication of financial statements. The Registrar of Companies at the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) is to monitor compliance with these requirements and specifies obsolete penalties in case of non-compliance. Please see generally sections 137, 211 (3) & (5), 343, 345, 354 CAMA),
It further provides for appointment, remuneration, rights, functions, powers, and removal of auditors and the establishment of an audit committee (please see generally sections 357, 358, 362,363 in part XI of CAMA). It should be noted that the CAMA regrettably does not provide for joint audit or rotation of auditors. By virtue of S358 CAMA only chartered accountants can be appointed as auditors of companies.
The CAMA 1990 also provide for the meetings of corporate entities. For companies, it is usually the Annual General Meeting (Section 213 CAMA). All companies are also required to file Annual returns which should contain their financial statement. It should be noted that CAMA allows for the creation of different kinds of corporate entities (eg. private limited liability company, public limited liability company, company limited guarantee, unlimited company, incorporated trustee and business name or firm), each with its attendant distinct legal consequences associated with their incorporation and differential financial reporting requirements (creating varying degree of elaborate corporate governance structure).
For instance, a public limited liability company which is quoted on the stock exchange is subjected to high level of corporate governance because in addition to separate personality and limited liability its shares are freely traded on the stock market mostly based on financial information supplied by the company to the market. So in addition to the general requirement on governance of companies public companies have to have an Audit Committee and are subjected to the listing requirements of the Nigeria Stock Exchange as well as regulation by Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
It follows that apart from CAMA 1990 there are other laws which affect corporate governance of companies. These would include general laws such as the Companies Income Tax Act 1990 and Investment and Securities Act 1999 applicable essentially to public companies and sectoral laws such as the Nigerian Stock Exchange Act (1965), the Securities and Exchange Commission Rules and Regulation (1999), the SEC Code of Corporate Governance in the field of Capital Market and regulation of disclosure and financial reporting for listed companies, the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria Act (1965) and the Nigerian Accounting Standards Board Act (2003) in the field of corporate governance, standardization and best international practices in audit and financial reporting, the Nigerian Communications Commission Act or the Nigerian Electric Sector Reform Act 2005 which regulate companies operating or intending to operate in communications or electric power sectors of the economy. There are other relevant laws for other sectors such as the petroleum industry but further discussions on sectoral legislations save for ISA 1999 is beyond the scope of this paper. Also powerful self regulatory bodies such as Nigeria Stock Exchange (NSE), Chartered Institute of Stockbrokers (CIS) and Capital Market Solicitors Association (CMSA) play significant role in setting standards of conduct for their members which aim at good corporate governance.  In addition both SEC and CAC teamed up with industry practitioners to produce a Code of Corporate Governance for Public Companies. Compliance with the Code is voluntary. SEC on the other hand has a Code of Conduct for Capital Market Operators which is enforceable. In fact in the Union Bank Registrar V. SEC case which arose from the Bokanlans share scandal the Investment and Securities Tribunal (IST) sustained liability of market participants based essentially on breach the Code.
Interestingly enough, the CAMA actually provides for the liability of the auditor for negligence if, as a result of failing to discharge his fiduciary duty properly, the company suffers loss or damage (see section 67 CAMA). A case may also be made out in the realm of the Common Law and the Nigerian Law of Torts. However, the reality is that this aspect of entrenching good corporate governance in accounting and auditors practices is yetKalu2007-11-07T19:38:00
Folio and Cadbury as anecdotes generally. to be tested by litigation, but my law firm is currently actively working on this aspect in a few scarce briefs that have raised this issue with a view to correcting this regrettable anomaly. I expect that this is an area of the law that will develop rapidly with the current Nigerian economic growth and more importantly the very healthy Nigerian capital market boom quite in contrast with the setbacks witnessed in international capital markets. It should be borne in mind that civil liability of such professionals will be virtually unlimited (without prejudice to professional insurance) as even audit and accounting firms can only have the form of partnerships. It has been said that this feature of tortuous liability makes it a more effective deterrence tool than criminal sanctions which always have a ceiling to financial penalties.
AUDIT COMMITTEE AND CORPORATE GOVERNANCE
Part XI of CAMA makes extensive provisions for keeping of accounting records of the company and preparation of financial statements for purpose of corporate financial reporting. It also provides for audit of those accounting records by an external auditor to be appointed by the members in general meeting. The auditors are then required under section 359 of CAMA 1990 to make a report to members on the accounts examined by them, and on every balance sheet and profit and loss account in the financial statement to be laid before the company in general meeting. It is significant to note that section 356 recognises that the content of financial statements for purpose of financial reporting may change from time to time so as to achieve fair, transparent accounting and corporate financial reporting in line with the concept of good corporate governance discuss earlier in this paper. It provides that the Minister after consultation with the Nigeria Accounting Standards Board may by regulation, add to the classes of documents to be comprised in the financial statements or modify the requirements of the Act as to matters to be stated in such documents or reduce the classes of documents to be delivered to the Corporate Affairs Commission CAC. This brings us to the role of the NASB in ensuring good corporate governance in Nigeria to which we would revert in the course of this paper.
In addition subsection 3 of the said section 359 require that the auditors in the case of a public company make a report to the Audit Committee of the company which committee is to be made up of equal number of directors and representatives of shareholders of the company subject to a maximum number of six (6), subject to re-election annually but with no remuneration. The function and powers of the Audit Committee are stated in section 359 subsection 6 as follows:
ascertain whether the accounting and reporting policies of the company are in accordance with legal requirements and agreed ethical practices;
review the scope and planning of audit requirements;
review the findings on management matters in conjunction with the external auditor and departemental responses thereon;
keep under review the effectiveness of the company's system of accounting and internal control;
make recommendations to the Board in regard to the appointment, removal and remuneration of the external auditors of the company; and
authorize the internal auditor to carry out investigations into any activities of the company which may be of interest or concern to the committee.
There is no doubt that the introduction of the Audit Committee in the corporate governance structure for public companies is an innovation well ahead of its time. This is because for instance no such structure exists in the United States and even with the enactment of the Sarbannes-Oxley law in the US there is still no such structure. The Audit Committee conceptually provides a veritable basis for instilling good corporate governance in public companies as this act as a check on the external auditor on the one hand and the company on the other hand.
A further analysis of the law and the practice of the Audit Committee would reveal that the idea whilst being laudable has not really achieved its objective. Several factors can easily be identified as responsibleFlaky2010-07-20T15:42:00
How CAMA adds to d inefficiency of audit committees for lack of impact of the Audit Committee in promoting good corporate governance in Nigeria.
First the law did not provide for any qualifications to membership of shareholder representatives. The result was that those who cannot understand a financial statement get elected to the Committee and there bring no value to the meeting. Second, since voting is by show of hand organized shareholder groups with little holdings in the company who are susceptible to manipulation by the Board and or management of the company get elected. Third, there is no legal restriction on the ratio of the team from the company directors as between executive and non executive directors. Four, it is not clear who should produce the Chairman consequently the practice differs considerably from company to company. Lastly, there is no term limit for membership of the Audit Committee. Whilst the burgeoning shareholder associations are to be commended for their active participation in protection of shareholder rights through elections into Audit Committees, the truth is that they are part of the problem. Many of them are only interested in the associated sitting allowances and are therefore willing tools for manipulation by management and or Board of some companies. Nevertheless their effort at a convention at informal term limit for those they push onto these committees must be acknowledged.
In summary, so far unless further law reform is undertaken there is not much hope that the Audit Committee would contribute significantly to good corporate governance in Nigeria. My suggestions on law reform will be made soonest.
As pointed out earlier Part XI of CAMA 1990 provides for audit of every company by an auditor appointed by the company. In particular Chapter 2 of Part XI in sections 357 to 369 makes elaborate provisions for appointment, qualification, duties and powers of the auditor, remuneration, removal, resignation, discipline, liability, etc of the auditor. The framework seems to be that the auditor is appointed by the general meeting under section 357 and reports to them and the Audit Committee under section 359. Also under section 351 the company in general meeting is supposed to fix the remuneration of the auditors except where the company is yet to commence business and the directors are entitled to appoint the auditors under section 357.
No doubt if the auditors carry out the duties set out in section 360 of CAMA 1990 and exercise the powers conferred on them in that section to investigate to enable them form an opinion and to qualify any opinion which they are not satisfied then all companies will endeavour to run their affairs in accordance with good corporate governance. The truth though is that they do not. Otherwise we would not have had the problems around the world referred to earlier on in this paper. This raises the question why don't they? In Nigeria it seems that the strict provisions of CAMA 1990 are inadequate to address the problem of auditor independence. Although section 361 says the company in general meeting should fix the remuneration of auditors in fact they usually delegate that power back to the directors and that falls back to the Executive Management of the company who probably in the first place recommended the auditor to the Board and in turn to the general meeting. The parlance is that he who pays the piper dictates the tune. Further, there is no provision in CAMA restricting the involvement of the auditor with the company. The only penal provisions are section 368 which imposes a duty to exercise such care diligence and skill reasonably necessary in performance of auditor and section 369 which imposes criminal sanctions for those who supply false statement to the auditor. The result is that auditors become over involved with companies doing management consultancy and tax and even human resources consultancy work for the very company they audit. They therefore lost their independence and professionalism in preparing their auditors report. Whilst not every audit firm was involved, many including the very top firms were. The fear of competition still drives audit firms to a frenzy about retaining their clients, at times at all cost.
NASB AND GOOD CORPORATE GOVERNANCE
Now one of the institutions that bring positive value to corporate governance is the Nigerian Accounting Standards Board (NASB) formally established under the provisions of the Companies and Allied Matters Act 1990 but now set up by the Nigerian Accounting Standards Board (NASB) Act, 2003. Originally established in 1982 as a private sector initiative housed in ICAN, NASB became a government agency in 1992 and reports to the Federal Minister of Commerce.
Section 355 (1) of CAMA provides:
"The Financial statements of a company prepared under section 344 of the Act, shall comply with the requirements of schedule 2 to the Act with respect to their form and content, and with the accounting standards laid down in the Statements of Accounting Standards issued from time to time by the Nigerian Accounting Standards Board to be constituted by the Minister after due consultation with such accounting bodies as he may deem fit in the circumstances for this purposes provided that such accounting standards do not conflict with the provisions of this Act"
According to the section 2 of the NASB Act, ( see also Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) official website), the National Accounting Standard Board (NASB) was constituted with the following members:
Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)
Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC)
Federal Board of Inland Revenue (FIRS)
Federal Ministry of Commerce (FMC)
Federal Ministry of Finance (FMF)
Nigerian Accounting Teachers Association (NATA)
Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMMA)
Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC)
Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)
Auditor-General for the Federation
Accountant-General of the Federation
Association of National Accountants of Nigeria (ANAN)
Chartered Institute of Taxation (CITN)
The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN)
The NASB Act seeks to vest NASB with the responsibility for developing and
publishing accounting standards to be observed in the preparation of financial statements, promote and enforce compliance with the accounting standards developed or reviewed by the Board and provide penalties for non-compliance with its provisions.
In pursuance to the above The Board has been issuing from time to time Statements of Accounting Standards (SAS) as well as guidelines/regulations for NASB inspectorate unit, 2005 (please refer to sundry updates and publications on NASB official website). By these NASB is actively seeking to provide a guide for policies and accounting methods that should be followed by companies in the preparation of their financial statements relative to income recognition, loss recognition, balance sheet classification and many other provisions. NASB's official website, not unlike its American counterpart (The Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, or PCAOB, a quasi public agency created under the Sarbox which is charged with overseeing, regulating, inspecting, and disciplining accounting firms in their roles as auditors of public companies.), has also created an interactive feedback forum on its websites in order to receive continually inputs and comments from relevant stakeholders and professionals which would serve as primary database and assist NASB in evolving adequate and effective standards suitable to the specific dynamics of growth of the nigerian accounting profession. The Board since inauguration has issued twenty-four (24) consecutive Statements of Accounting Standards (SAS) to date. It has currently on display, five (5) exposure drafts of new proposed SASs.
Recently also in 2005, NASB has published guidelines for its inspectorate unit charged with monitoring compliance by auditors with the SAS issued while preparing financial statements.
NASB prides itself as the only recognised independent body in Nigeria responsible for the development and issuance of Statements of Accounting Standards for users and preparers of financial statements, investors, commercial enterprises and regulatory agencies of government  . There is no doubt that formal compliance with SAS issued by NASB can assist companies with good corporate governance. In addition apart from NASB as pointed out earlier there are many other independent institutions that have been playing varying roles in enthronement of good corporate governance (take for instance the issuance by CBN in 2003 of a Code of Corporate Governance for Banks and its provisions/guidelines on audit committee or efforts of SEC/CAC to entrench good corporate governance for public companies as earlier mentioned). It nevertheless seems that mere compliance with rules alone is not sufficient to guarantee good corporate governance. So some self regulators have gone a step further and have set standards of compliance that are personal to managers of regulated companies. For instance, the Nigeria Stock Exchange has a rule that a manager of a quoted company who has a problem with his company would not be allowed to manage another company. Application of this rule resulted in the removal of Mr. Bernard Longe as Managing Director of Transcorp as soon as they were quoted because of his previous travail in First Bank. Again the NSE has blacklisted previous managers of Cadbury Nigeria Plc including Bunmi Oni the erstwhile Managing Director. As I had occasion to sum up, there is now a paradigm shift in corporate governance concept. Good corporate governance is now about the integrity of the managers of companies and not necessarily about compliance with rules. I said  :
"it seems that the integrity of the corporate manager is now perhaps, more important than his financial statements. To put it another way, the financial statements of a company or its level of compliance with principles of corporate governance cannot be higher than the integrity of the managers of the company. Consequently, investors, shareholders and other outside suppliers of capital or service now scrutinize more closely the integrity of the insiders who have to manage the capital supplied. So, instead of, or in addition to, financial statements, outsiders now demand for the past records of top management and the experience and reputation of the board, as indices for determining the level of compliance with principles of good corporate governanceâ€¦..
Whilst good corporate governance has moved towards integrity of individual managers, there is no doubt that the rules and enforcement of those would continue to play a significant role in persuading managers to adopt and internalize good corporate governance because the consequence of failure to comply could be personally grievous for the corporate manager. In this regard, I also laud once again the efforts of NASB and its Inspectorate division with regards to compliance to its SAS within such a short period of establishment. The era of hiding under the shield of separate legal personality to run down companies should now be circumscribed. It is in this light that I believe that law reform in corporate governance should focus on some of the following issues:
Making boards effective requires policies that impact on both "the carrot and the stick."
There should be qualification for membership of Audit Committee but not necessarily accounting qualification. There should also be mechanisms put in place for continuous education of members of audit committees (especially non-executive directors) in order that they may have sufficient literacy in financial matters and be able to monitor more effectively the management, thereby reducing the risk associated with dissociation of ownership rights and management rights in a company, The Internal Auditor or Risk Management Manager should report directly to the Audit Committee in addition to any other reporting line. Both the Managing Director and the Chairman of the Company should not be members of the Audit Committee. The Executive Director in charge of Finance should only be in attendance and not a member, and members who are shareholder representatives should have term limits.
The current international best practice to the effect that an auditor should not act as a consultant to the same company should be elevated to the position of enforceable law. Even then the same partner and or associate in a firm should not audit the same company for more than five (5) years. There should be liability for breach.
Indeed, one may say that this rule of periodic rotation of auditors of the company is what fast=tracked the Parmalat accounting scandal in Italy (one of Europe's largest and most global company employing more than 36,000 employees in 30 countries), as the Company was statutorily forced to substitute its auditors from Grand Thorton to Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu. It is indeed on record that sporadic alarms were raised by an auditor employed by Deloitte Italy twice as far back as March 2001 and again in 2002. a minor shareholder and fund management group known as Hermes is also suing Deloitte on account of not following up properly through thorough investigation on its whistleblowing.in December 2002.
I think that it is time that NASB is elevated to a full Commission or is merged with either CAC or SEC. This way its standards may be better enforced with the resultant beneficial effect for corporate governance.
Indeed, the above will assist our government in harmonizing its efforts in policing and entrenching corporate governance in Nigeria as there is on the other extreme the danger of over-regulation or conflict or regulations and regulators leading to strangulation and stunted growth in the economy, I have had the opportunity of addressing these issues in an in-depth manner in my MBA on regulation of the advertising practice in Nigeria.
I suggest that this Code be reviewed and then made enforceable.
A FASTER PROCESS OF ENFORCEMENT OF SECURITIES
The pattern of financing (financial structure of a company) affects the kinds of securities issued. Securities are not simply claims on cash flow; they confer certain rights on decision making and control (i.e., they define alternative governance modes). According to Williamson (1988), debt governance works out of rules, while equity governance allows much greater discretion. Equities typically confer on the holders, the right to elect directors through voting, whereas debt entitles the holders to repossess collateral when the company defaults on promised payments. Good corporate governance as earlier said is a means of returning value to various stakeholders (employees) and investors (shareholders, secured creditors) The rights attached to securities and their enforcement become critical when managers of companies act in self-interest. It may also be the only mean by which the interests of employees are paradoxically best protected.
Collectively, these rules measure the ease with which investors can exercise their powers
against management, and hence shed some light on the quality (or potential thereof) of corporate accountability.
It is easy therefore to understand how securities become rights of decision making and control of a company by the debt capital suppliers. These rights are in turn predicated on the legal environment in which the securities are operative. And since procedure is of essence, as is usually the case under systems that rely on institutions, there is a need for an urgent reform in that area of the law too.
It is in view of the above that my law firm has been actively involved with Business Recovery and Insolvency Practitioners Association (BRIPAN) to push for a reform of the Insolvency laws of Nigeria through the promulgation of an Insolvency Act.
In addition to the reforms suggested and a development of a litigation steered towards holding auditors as well as directors of companies more liable, it is my belief that we will begin to see more positive dividends from the entrenchment of corporate governance rules.
STATUTORY CREATION OF THE OFFICE OF COMPLIANCE OFFICER FOR PUBLIC COMPANIES.
Under the reforms witnessed in the United States of America with the Sarbox features the entrenchment of compliance officers. These are basically professionals such as qualified accountants/auditors or Legal practitioners with a bias in finance who act as corporate watchdogs reminding the management on need to comply with rules of disclosure, accountability, etc. these are naturally also potential whistleblowers.
The question may arise about the practical loyalty of these officers i.e. whether the integrity of these compliance officers will not be affected by their mode of appointment. In this regard, we believe that the establishment of statutory duties to report to their relevant regulatory bodies may assist in this regard. With respect to publicly quoted companies, we have had the opportunity to advance this idea while working on SEC's Code of Conduct for Capital Market Operators and their Employees (please refer to rule ix in Appendix B of my book on Capital Market Operations as earlier citedKalu2007-11-07T19:38:00
You may wish to take with you a few copies of your book and market same Sir..
STATUTORY PROTECTION OF WHISTLEBLOWERS
One other fundamental area that needs to be very quickly addressed in the development of corporate governance in an emerging economy such as ours is the protection of whistleblowers.
Till date, there are no specific statutory incentives to employees and other insider officers of a company to raise alarms over scheme to defraud the company and other stakeholders by directors or selfish managers. This is not in line with best international practices.
In concluding it is to be observed that on paper Nigeria has elaborate provision for corporate governance. However, it would seem that most of them are not properly enforced. Even then mere compliance with corporate governance rules may not guarantee good corporate governance. It follows therefore that whilst there is still need to improve the level of corporate governance ultimately good corporate governance is personal to corporate managers consequently effort must be may to increase integrity of these managers through enforceable rules as a panacea to dearth of good corporate managers.
Finally, studies have shown that the quality of corporate governance may not be independent of the quality of state governance, as the quality of the state provides the backbone upon which institutions in the public as well as private sector (including board of directors) can govern. In this regard, I believe every Nigerian should continue to support through prayers and civil contributions (for instance, fora such as this) for the promotion and prosperity of this nation.
God bless Nigeria.