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THE Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Cyprus (ICPAC) yesterday hit back in an ongoing feud with the Cyprus Bar Association over who should be responsible for all amendments, applications and changes relating to companies registered with the Registrar of Companies.
According to a ruling by the Attorney-general that came into effect last week, all changes that involve firms registered with the Registrar will have to be undertaken by lawyers, citing that these actions related to their right of ‘exercising the legal function’.
ICPAC have criticised this interpretation of an existing legislation, claiming that it is both unreasonable and damaging.
“This is a very adverse development that we do not agree with in any way,” Senior Officer of the ICPAC Christos Kyriakides told the Cyprus Mail yesterday.
This change is expected to affect the turnover of accountants as well as increase the time needed for registering companies with the Registrar, which already takes long due to the cumbersome red tape of existing rules.
“There are already significant delays for other reasons in the registering of companies. The secretary of each company has legal responsibility for submitting documents at certain intervals on behalf of that company. Now imagine this right taken away, it is not only very annoying but it is a sign that we are going backward instead of forward,” he added.
Member of the board of directors of the ICPAC Marios Skandalis agreed with Kyriakides’ view that such a change would be destructive to attracting foreign companies to the island.
“The registration of companies has always been the right, and part of the operations of, our members and we shall not consent to drop out this right on invalid grounds. Granting the exclusivity of this right to lawyers is surely not aligned with the goal of the Finance Minister to establish Cyprus as the prime financial services centre of the region,” Skandalis said.
Kyriakides maintained that the ICPAC were prepared to take the matter to court if that became necessary, adding that they were confident of victory as a previous case some 15 years ago on a similar issue set a precedent in favour of the ICPAC.
Doros Ioannides, President of the Cyprus Bar Association, defended the new interpretation of the law.
“This is exactly what the law states, it always has done. There has been no change in the law, it is just being interpreted in the correct way now,” he said.
Ioannides added that lawyers should have this right because they are professionally trained to deal with such issues.
“Is it logical for a builder to go to a classroom and teach? Every person should look at his area of expertise. This change is for the best as it will ensure things run on a more professional level,” he said.
By Nassos Stylianou
Cyprus Mail 2008