Accountant William Desmond Fong, of Darwin, Northern Territory, has been convicted and sentenced to six weeks of imprisonment after pleading guilty to failing to attend an ASIC examination.
ASIC had called on Mr Fong to appear at the examination on 3 October 2019 to offer reasonable assistance in connection with an investigation where he acted as the accountant to another company, NT Welding Pty Ltd.
Mr Fong had acted for NT Welding during the period of his directorship of Fong & Partners (NT) Pty Ltd.
The investigation was initiated after ASIC received a supplementary report by Stuart George Reid of Rodgers Reidy, the liquidator of NT Welding.
In her sentencing remarks, Judge Elisabeth Armitage of the Darwin Magistrates Court noted that the offence was serious and that it significantly frustrated ASIC’s ability to make proper enquiries.
She also noted the numerous prior convictions of Mr Fong for similar kinds of offending and that specific deterrence was paramount in the circumstances.
Mr Fong was also re-sentenced for a 2019 conviction, after he failed to assist the liquidator of Mature Consulting Services Pty Ltd, a company wherein he was a sole director and secretary.
Judge Armitage fined Mr Fong $1,000 and re-sentenced him to a good behaviour bond on the condition he provide all outstanding books to the liquidator of Mature Consulting Services Pty Ltd by 26 August 2021.
Intentionally or recklessly failing to comply with a requirement to appear at an examination is a criminal offence under s.63 of the ASIC Act and carries a maximum penalty of two years of imprisonment.
Jotham Lian is the editor of Accountants Daily, the leading source of breaking news, analysis and insight for Australian accounting professionals.
Before joining the team in 2017, Jotham wrote for a range of national mastheads including the Sydney Morning Herald, and Channel NewsAsia.