KIGALI - Malice and fear of competition are what some members of the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Rwanda (ICPAR) attribute to the current bickering that has rocked the new body and threatens to tear it apart.
Several members of ICPAR, who asked not to be named, told this newspaper that they were completely in the dark about a list of eleven ICPAR certified firms sent to Rwanda Revenue Authority that excluded major international accounting firms.
The list signed by ICPAR president, Peter Rutaremara, says the names of approved legible firms were endorsed by the body’s Governing Council.
But a source in the council contests this list, saying it was incomplete and sent to RRA behind their back.
“The list initially had 20 firms and the members of the Governing Council had to first sit before the list become public which was not the case,” a member who requested not to be named alleged.
Many firms accredited by the National Bank of Rwanda (BNR) to carry out auditing and accounting services do not appear on the list.
Ernst & Young, PriceWaterHouseCoopers, KPMG, Deloitte & Touche, Grant Thornton, BDO, KPS, AG and Associates were approved by BNR but were not approved by the new ICPAR leadership.
Rutaremara could not be reached to explain the criteria used to pick some firms and leave others out. His cell phone has been off since last Friday.
According to new regulations, firms that appear on the new list issued by the institute are the only ones mandated to engage in business in the country. As a result of this, Deloitte & Touche has filed a case in court against ICPAR over the matter.
Joy Ntare, ICPAR Member and Head of Non Financial Institution Supervision department in BNR, declined to comment and referred this reporter to the institute’s head.
Efforts to get BNR Governor Francois Kanimba to comment on the fate of BNR’s list were fruitless.
However, sources say the possible elimination of some firms could be a strategy by influential members within the Governing Council to sideline potential competitors.
“Evidently, some companies that appear on this new list are briefcase companies, which hardly have the expertise and experience that this sector demands,” the source said.
Emmanuel Habineza, ICPAR Council Member said RRA Deputy Commissioner in charge of large taxpayers, Ben Kagarama, told a meeting of stakeholders at Sports View Hotel last month, that only listed firms are allowed to certify accounts and tax declarations for large taxpayers.
He said the governing council of this infant body should have first approved the new list ahead of its publication, but unfortunately, this was not the case.
Sources say the list is now being circulated within the business community with a message that firms appearing on the new line-up are the only ones allowed to engage in business, leaving some renown firms missing in the cold.
When contacted, Rwanda Revenue Authority’s Gerald Nkusi Mukubu, in charge of Tax Education, said RRA regards the list as genuine.
“You see, we cannot contest a list sent by ICPAR because this body is independent,” he said on phone.
He, however, admitted that there were misunderstandings among the ICPAR members and RRA had told them to sort themselves out.