United States: Better Governance and Reporting Under Sarbanes-Oxley: Are we There Yet? by George R. Goodman Mondaq’s Article Service 23 November 2004

Reproduced with permission from Daily Tax Report, No. 219, pp. J-1 – J-8 (Nov. 15, 2004). Copyright 2004 by The Bureau of National Affairs,Inc. (800-372-1033) http://www.bna.com

Reserves whistleblower quits Shell by Christopher Hope© Telegraph.co.uk – London,England,UK 13 October 2004

“Mr Coopman rose to prominence when he compiled an internal status report that revealed the group had exaggerated its commercially exploitable oil and gas reserves by 2.3billion barrels (later increased to 4.47billion barrels).
He recommended in his review, carried out last autumn, that Shell was “under a legal obligation” to correct immediately the overstatement of the reserve. However Walter van der Vijver, the then head of exploration and production, replied to Mr Coopman in a now infamous e-mail: “This is absolute dynamite, not at all what I expected and needs to be destroyed.”
When the overstatement became public, both Mr Van der Vijver and Sir Philip Watts, chairman of the committee of managing directors at Shell, lost their jobs over the affair.”

Enron whistleblower leads ethical charge ©Stuff.co.nz – New Zealand  14 October 2004
“The former executive of the imploded giant United States energy trader now travels the world as a business ethics expert and public speaker, spreading cautionary tales of the corruption that led to Enron’s collapse in December 2001, leaving liabilities of around $US80 billion ($NZ119 billion).
Ms Brewer, a forensic accountant and legal professional, was one of three woman Enron employees who blew the whistle at much the same time on numerous examples of corrupt dealings, bank fraud, espionage, power price manipulation and over-exaggerations of the company’s financial position.
Now she is president of the Integrity Institute, a not-for-profit organisation that assesses the integrity of an organisation.
“I’m leading the charge to make the world a better place for institutional investors. We assess and certify integrity and consider how an organisation can communicate that is not an Enron. Financial statements can’t be trusted any more.”

ICAC considers whether to charge Carr with contempt ©Sydney Morning Herald (subscription) – Sydney,New South Wales,Australia 23 September 2004
“The Premier, Bob Carr, may know today whether he will face contempt charges over comments made in defence of his former health minister, Craig Knowles.

The Independent Commission Against Corruption is inquiring into allegations that Mr Knowles bullied and intimidated nurses who blew the whistle on inadequate patient care at Camden and Campbelltown hospitals.”

Knowles denies threatening whistleblower nurses by Karen Barlow© ABC -The World Today 22 September 2004

Whistleblower to spill beans by Richard Owen South Australian Advertiser 31August 2004
A Stockbroker is threatening to shake up the financial services industry in Queensland.

He has stepped forward as a whistle-blower to voice support for a $200 million investor class action over the collapse of Australian Magnesium Corporation’s $1.7 billion Stanwell light metals plant last year.

Financial Class Actions (FCA) principal Roger Brown described the whistle-blower as “an immensely powerful witness” who had committed a “major act of bravery in this town” by coming forward.

“It has taken a long, long time to get this witness to come forward and he has some bombshell information,” he said.

Time to take a different approach to protecting whistleblowers by Glenn Birrell CEO Your-Call On-Line Opinion 2 June 2004
“Are we quipping people with the necessary tools and protection to speak up?’

Establishing an Effective Complaint and Confidential, Anonymous Reporting Process
The Bulletin Volume 1 Issue 11 2004 Protiviti Independent Risk Consulting USA©

In reference to “Using “hotlines” for confidential, anonymous reporting” it states:-
“while the SEC does not specifically require the use of an external- based hotline, audit committees and management may wish to investigate the firms offering them. Considering the inherent complexity of managing sensitive information and responsive investigations, it may be both more cost effective and free of conflict-of-interest issues if third-party providers supply the primary complaint hotline facility and collect information through that facility.

“new service providers offer their clients the opportunity to implement internet-based reporting of complaints.”

Business Ethics and Compliance in the Sarbanes-Oxley Era A Survey by Deloitte & Touche LLP and Corporate Board Member Magazine
“If whistleblower helplines are not managed by a third party, companies may have an issue with the anonymity requirements of Sarbanes-Oxley. These requirements are based on the premise that true anonymity of reporting can only be attained if the calls are fielded by someone outside the organization. We expect that in-house managed helplines may become a thing of the past.”

What is a good company? Justine Nolan The Age 26 July 2004
“Responsible corporate governance means more than following the minimum required by law. It requires that a company consider the long-term impact of decisions on all their stakeholders, and that includes employees. A greater degree of transparency and disclosure is being encouraged and, in these particular countries, actually required. In essence, it’s about making decision-making ethical as well as legal.

Whistleblower praised by US Congress The Age 8 May 2004© (Word document)
“An anonymous note slipped under a superior’s door by a part-time soldier from Pennsylvania triggered the Iraq prison abuse scandal now engulfing the US military and administration.”

Outraged by what he saw, Darby “initially put a letter under our door”…

“Then he later came forward and made a sworn statement. He felt very bad about it and thought it was wrong.”

Testifying before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Rumsfeld, despite the pressure over his action, praised Darby for acting on his conscience”

Trial of lies turns up in Shell report by James Moore London The Age 21 April 2004© (Word document)
The report found Shell’s committee of managing directors were made aware of problems with the reserves in 2002 but were not told the full extent of the difficulties.

They were told that the company hoped to “manage” the problem by “playing for time”.

The reserves were audited by a part-time former employee who went along with Shell’s attempt to conceal its difficulties because he feared for his job.

Whistleblowing while you work by Harry Templeton The Scotsman – Edinburgh,Scotland,UK 20 April 2004© (Word document) Organisations across the UK are realising it is better to encourage staff to tell them the bad news early rather than wait until the boat sinks, then ask why or who knew about the leak.

Public Concern at Work (PCaW) was set up in 1993 to address whistleblowing in the UK and in 2001, established an office in Glasgow. We aim to help ensure a break with a workplace culture which fosters complacency or cover-ups. In promoting a safe alternative to silence, we want the whistleblower to speak without fear and for the employer to listen with intent.

Whistleblowing – can you manage it? by Lauren Thomsen Moore Management Today April 2004© (Word document)
Whistleblowers are becoming more and more a fact of life in business and government….

Reputational risk: banks’ corporate culture shock by Anthony Hughes (Sydney) The Age 7 April 2004 © (Word document)

Westpac’s Chief Executive Mr. David Morgan said ,”A good corporate culture included an environment in which people could act ethically and air issues or concerns without fear.

I don’t want to comment on NAB. All I can say for ourselves is we do have robust policies and structures in place but at the end of the day it’s the culture that determines the use and abuse of those policies and of those structures,” Dr Morgan said after a Trans-Tasman Business Circle lunch in Sydney. ”

Auditors told to dob in executives by Bill Pheasant with Simon Evans Australian Financial Review 6 April 2004 © (Word document)
“Auditors will be forced to inform the corporate regulator about any any attempt by company executives or directors to influence their work.”

APRA – The Culture, The Board, The Audit Committee & The Risk Committee The Age 25 March 2004© (Word document)
APRA “recommends reforms in recruiting and the code of code to encourage whistleblowers, and a system where bad news is not sanitised before it reaches key decision makers.”

APRA Censures a humbled NAB by Duncan Hughes The Age 25 March 2004© (Word document)

A quarter of woman harassed: report by Melissa Marino The Age 25 March 2004©
(Word document)
“28% of women aged 18 to 64 years said they had been sexually harassed at work.  The figure for men was 7%.”

Federal Sex Discrimination Commissioner Pru Goward said, “Sexual harassment often begins with verbal abuse, innuendo or unwanted sexual comments. It may go on to involve behaviour such as propositioning, asking for sexual favours, unwanted touching, assault or even rape.”

“The Gallup telephone survey of more than 1000 people aged 18 to 64 found that less than a third of those harassed formally reported the offence, and more than half said they lacked faith in the system. Others said the harassment did not warrant reporting or they had dealt with it themselves. But Ms Goward said she was encouraged by the finding that 87 per cent of people who had witnessed a case of sexual harassment had done something about it, including confronting the harasser.”

National Bank’s response to foreign currency options trading losses PwC Report of its findings ASX 12 March 2004
CEO Mr. John Stewart   said “I am very pleased that whistleblowers had uncovered losses from the foreign currency trading and the National would continue to encourage and protect whistleblowers: “We need more brave people that are prepared to confront bad behaviour”.

“Dob in the fraudsters, bosses encouraged” by David Elias The Age 12 March 2004© (Word document)
“effective fraud control requires the development of a culture of intolerance in the community” “company executives encouraged to adopt fraud control and whistleblower protection programs..”

Press Release – Whistleblowers expose cover up at Hanford Nuclear Site by Tom Carpenter Washington DC USA 26 February 2004 (Word document)
Workers were sick and injured after being exposed to vapors from high-level nuclear waste tanks, beryllium and other toxic and carcinogenic substances. The disclosures are the result of a 14-month investigation in which scores of Hanford whistleblowers worked with the Government Accountability Project (GAP), a national, non-profit good government whistleblower organization and law firm based in Washington, D.C., and Seattle.

Many whistleblowers told GAP of professional misconduct by medical providers, falsification of medical records and callous disregard of workers with physical complaints.

“Changing attitudes a long term investment” by Christine Long The Age 21 February 2004© (Word document)
Bosses out to transform corporate culture must not expect a quick fix, writes Christine Long in her interview with Mr. David Murray, Chief Executive, Commonwealth Bank.  Mr. Murray said,”People who put their money in a bank like to trust the bank and believe the people in it have integrity”.

Whistleblowing by Ms Anne Trimmer Partner Minter Elliso n

First article 26 February 2004© (Word document)Defined the term “whistleblower”

Outlined current whistleblower framework in Australia.

Discussed why employees don’t report unethical or illegal conduct in the workplace.

Second Article 4 March 2004© (Word document)Proposed Amendments to CLERP 9.

Four phases in the development of a whistleblower system.

“Gambler accused of $10m fraud” by Selma Milovanovic The Age 10 February 2004© (Word document)

“an anonymous whistleblower wrote to the revenue office raising suspicions of non-compliance at TQM, sparking an audit that unravelled a money trail leading to Fernandez’s side interests.”

“How Australia should fight white-collar crime” by Kim Sawyer The Age 21 January 2004 © (Word document)

“We need whistleblower legislation – it could save government billions”

“Whistleblower exposed trades” (in reference to the National Australia Bank Options Trading Loss) The Age 14 January 2004 © (Word document)

Tainted pills Channel 9 Sunday Program Reporter : Helen Dalley May 4, 2003© (Word document)
A missed opportunity at Pan Pharmaceuticals.  The whistleblower claims “the TGA would inform the company in advance they were going to pay a visit. There were no surprise inspections, so by the time the TGA arrived, ‘everything had been cleaned up neat and tidy”.

Whistleblower Articles:- Over 1,200 old articles & news at www.newspaperarchive.com

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