For the past little while there has been a fraud case underway with regards to the “fishy” shennigans of Livent co-owners Garth Drabinsky & Myron Gottlieb. The CFO, Maria Messina, joined the company back in 1996; she was “pilfered” from a public accounting firm and is a chartered accountant. She is one of the star witnesses for the Crown, arguing that she had no control over the external financial reporting. She has argued that she was told what results Livent owners wanted to project to investors and the general public. She plead guilty to a criminal charge of providing false financial information to the SEC.
I could witter on and on about the case. But what strikes me is that she got herself into this situation. Yes, she did end up being a whistleblower and exposing the questionable accounting practices of Livent. But she has a criminal charge against her, because she went along with providing false statements.
The woman is a Chartered Accountant, as a CA she must uphold certain ethical and professional standards. Granted I don’t know what they are for a CA, but for being a CGA I am required to never put myself into a situation in which my duty of care to the public is every compromised. My first responsibility, when confronted by questionable practices while employed is to express my concerns to my employer. If said employer still insists on following these questionable (and possible criminal) processes then I have to distance myself and explain why. If for no other reason being that I could be sanctioned by my Professional Association and stripped of my designation.
And let me make this clear – I worked damn hard to get it and I refuse to jeapordise losing it.
This woman, Messina, I have to question her ethical and professional standards and her attitude towards her obligations to the general public and investors. I certainly hope that any potential employers would think twice before considering doing business or even hiring her.