Auditors’ liability: what to do with information from a whistleblower

The Corporations Act contains whistleblowers provisions. Section 9.4AAA which commenced on 1 July 2004 provides extensive protections to officers, employees, and contractors of companies who report to auditors, non-anonymously and in good faith, matters which they reasonably believe suggests that a company or an employee may have breached the Corporations Act or the ASIC Act. Importantly, the only people to whom the whistleblower’s information may be passed  by the auditor without the whistleblower’s consent are ASIC, APRA, or the Australian Federal Police. The company being audited may not be informed without the whistleblower’s consent. This is a kind of Australian version of America’s Sarbanes-Oxley Act which contains similar provisions. ASIC’s information sheet is here.

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