Probe into lawyers’ one of 707

National

INVESTIGATION into private lawyers Greg Sheppard and Harvey Maladina are among 707 cases being carried out by the Lawyers Statutory Committee, chairman Vincent Mirupasi says.
He told the Special Parliamentary Committee on Public Sector Reform and Service Delivery hearing in Port Moresby yesterday that the Sheppard and Maladina investigation was a current matter and still under investigation.
Mirupasi assured the committee that the Sheppard and Maladina case had not been “swept under the carpet”.
“This particular matter has joined the queue and it’s listed in one of those categories that says that it’s an important and controversial matter,” Mirupasi said.
He said the process of investigating the matter had already started.
He said the process included gathering statements from the lawyers and finding auditors to audit the trust accounts.
He said two auditors refused to do audits on the trust accounts on the law firms of Sheppard and Maladina after initially accepting the request from the Lawyers’ Statutory Committee.
He said the auditors had a conflict of interest.
“It’s not like we received the complaint and we threw it in the corner. The process has commenced.”
However, KPMG audit company partner Peter Zabaks told the committee that forensic investigation needed to be carried out into the trust accounts of Sheppard and Maladina.
He said issues arose because the accounts were already audited.
Zabaks said an audit alone of the trust accounts would not be adequate and that a different scope of works needed to be provided by the lawyers statutory committee.
The parliamentary committee, chaired by Elias Kapavore with members Gary Juffa and Mehrra Kipefa held a one-day hearing into the implementation of the Lawyers Act 1986.
They had become increasingly concerned with the implementation of the provisions of the Lawyers Act 1986 and associated regulations.

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