Appearing before a parliamentary committee on Friday, ASIC chair James Shipton revealed that the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) had expressed concerns over $118,557 in taxation-related expenses paid to him to relocate from the United States.
Deputy chair Daniel Crennan had also received $69,621 for his relocation from Melbourne to Sydney.
Both Mr Shipton and Mr Crennan have both agreed to repay the reimbursements.
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg was informed of the concerns by the Auditor-General on Thursday.
“Specifically, the Auditor-General has indicated that during the 2019–20 financial statements audit of ASIC, the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) identified payments made on behalf of the ASIC Chair, Mr James Shipton, relating to taxation advice and Deputy Chair, Mr Dan Crennan QC, relating to housing expenses that he considered may exceed the limits set in the Remuneration Determination made by the Remuneration Tribunal and that there were also identified instances where the Commonwealth Procurement Rules were not followed,” Mr Frydenberg said.
An independent Treasury-led review will now be undertaken, with a report due at the end of the year.
In the interim, Mr Shipton told the House of Representatives standing committee on economics that he would step aside immediately.
“While I believe that I have acted properly and appropriately in this matter, I hold myself to the highest possible standard,” Mr Shipton said.
“What matters is that I act with integrity and honour. That means I need to act in the best interests of ASIC and its vital purpose to build a fair, honest and efficient financial system for all Australians.
“I only took this position to serve the Australian community and to work to improve the corporate and financial system that should also serve it.
“If I in any way impede that purpose, the right thing for me to do is to step aside until such time that I can.”
More to come.
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.