This is the third inquiry into the County Tyrone-based company which disclosed in January 1998 that accounting irregularities at its Matbro subsidiary would result in massive losses and its possible collapse. Following the disclosure KPMG stepped down as auditor last October and was replaced by Ernst & Young. Led by Laurence Shields, the former president of the Law Society of Ireland, with Jim Gemmell, a prominent Scots ICA member practising in London, the committee of inquiry will examine audit issues not covered by parallel investigations run by the Serious Fraud Office and the London Stock Exchange. Former auditors KPMG and two senior Powerscreen managers, chief executive Shay McKeown and finance director Barry Cosgrove, will come under scrutiny. The institute committee will now focus its attention on the audit that KPMG carried out on Powerscreen prior to the Matbro crisis. 'The committee of inquiry will consider in detail the audit and other issues and whether any member of the institute should be subject to disciplinary proceedings for any misconduct,' the institute said in a statement. In February, almost 90% of members voted for rule changes which allow for hearings of public concern and serious cases to be held in public. Government approval for these rule changes is still awaited. Sanctions available to the Irish ICA include fines or exclusion from membership for those found to be at fault.
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