VOSCON Clarifies Ducor Petro Issue

“Liberia’s premier auditing firm, the erstwhile VOSCON, which by merit rebranded last year, when it joined the network of the globally rated top notch Baker Tilly International, has come out to correct media misrepresentation regarding their independent audit of the Ducor Petroleum Inc. for seven (7) years ended December 31, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010,2011, and 2013.

“It was first the Inquirer of July 23rd and The National Chronicle of July 24th instant that imputed unfounded allegations, much to the discredit of a principled auditing firm.

Inquirer carried the headline: VOSCON ACCUSED; The National Chronicle joined the fray with an even damaging slant: VOSCON At The Center of Controversy.

“Mindful of ethical imperative, Baker Tilly Liberia could not at the time engage in media mudslinging or right to reply options without an expressed permission from the shareholders of Ducor Petroleum Inc..

“This point has been crisply expressed in a release from Baker Tilly Liberia when it states: “As the ethics of the profession dictates, we owe it to the shareholders of Ducor Petroleum Inc. and to all our clients, not to reveal confidential client information except through the expressed written permission from the client”.

“Accordingly, the auditing firm on August 12th 2013, received permission from the majority of the shareholders of Ducor Petroleum Inc. to make a couple of clarifications that it hoped, will disabuse members of the of the litany of unfounded media charges.

“Baker Tilly Liberia has therefore stated that its appointment as independent auditors of Ducor Petroleum required them to express opinion on the results of the operations and state of affairs for the years under audit, adding that such opinion is addressed and issued for the benefit of all shareholders of the corporation.

“The auditing firm says that expected deliverables from their audit are the Audit Reports and the Post Audit Memorandum. The Post Audit Memorandum provides observations and insights emanating from the audit and suggests measures to improve the effectiveness of internal controls. “All companies subject to independent financial audit, worldwide, receive similar deliverables.”

“The auditing firm further clarifies that its appointment as independent auditors of Ducor Petroleum Inc. for seven years ended December 31 2006, 2007, 2008,2009,2010,2011 and 2012 does not mandate them to adjudicate management or financial disputes between shareholders.

“Whilst admitting that Baker Tilly Liberia is aware about a dispute amongst Ducor Petroleum shareholders, this dispute they said followed after their appointment as auditors. The dispute between the shareholders of Ducor Petroleum is currently the subject of a criminal indictment, and that the innocent or guilty of any party cannot be determined by the media.

“Baker Tilly Liberia has argued that its letter of engagement with Ducor Petroleum dated January 7th 2013 was not based on Special Investigative or Dispute Resolution Procedures. The release added: “whilst the shareholders of Ducor Petroleum are at liberty to use the results of our audit as they deem appropriate, separate memorandum of understanding between the shareholders of Ducor Petroleum Inc. do not constitute the terms of reference of our independent audit. We have not been engaged by any party or parties to conduct special investigation or dispute resolution procedures, the terms of reference which would have been separate and distinct from that of an independent financial statements audit.”

“Elucidating the global concept of Group Auditors, a norm, rather than the exception for associated companies to employ the service of the same auditor, Baker Tilly Liberia has posited that “professional accountants are guided by specific professional principles and rules that determine audit independence and such independence is not impaired by the mere provision of audit services to associated companies.”

“Priding itself as an experienced firm with internationally trained and recognized professionals, Baker Tilly Liberia maintains that its engagement with Ducor Petroleum had a focus and breadth to obtain sufficient and competent evidence on which to anchor conclusion- this they said is pending- as their work has not been completed,  –  which implies that their opinion has not been issued.

“It is in this vein that the auditing firm has seized the opportunity to educate the public that, “a professionally conducted audit is based on evidence, not whims, and parties, who have nothing to hide, have nothing to fear. Our firm has no interest in the Ducor Petroleum Inc. audit engagement, beyond our role as independent auditors.”

“Baker Tilly Liberia has concluded on the lofty note that the ideals of transparency and accountability in Liberia are relevant not only in the public sector but in the private sector as well, a goal the firm says it is committed to upholding for the national good, without succumbing to any attempt to inappropriately influence their work”, a press release issue yesterday said.

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