The official ACCA magazine has continued to deny space to anyone who shares the vision of an Association different from those of its officials. In accordance with the ACCA bye-laws, in 1995 and 1996 ACCA members called for a Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) to consider possible reforms. The leadership used its in-house magazine (and even the Student Magazine) to advance its opposition to the reforms. However, the leadership prevented the organisers of the EGMs from getting even one word in the official magazine. Admittedly, following precedent, the leadership was obliged to circulate the resolutions and supporting statements provided by reformers. But by denying any space to reformers, it prevented any prior exchange of information, debate and dialogue with members through the official magazine. The official magazine solely carried the views of the leadership (and its attacks upon reformers) and thus prevented wider exchange of information amongst members.
Inevitably, concerned members have been forced to express their concerns
through alternative media. Professor Sikka has been a member of the Association
since 1977 and has expressed concerns about the relative lack of openness
and democracy in the ACCA. On a number of occasions, he has written articles
and letters to Accountancy Age to stimulate the debate. However, just as
the 1996 EGM approached, the ACCA Chief Executive wrote (letter dated 20
September 1996) to the editor of Accountancy Age. In it, without
any invitation, the Chief Executive rather gratuitously added,
|“I suggest that you need to take very great care indeed about future material which you publish over the names of Messrs Sikka .......”.|
This letter was supposedly to complain about the defamatory nature of an article which appeared in Accountancy Age on 12 September 1996. However, the article had nothing to do with Professor Sikka. It was not written by him. He was not connected with it and his name did not appear on the article. The only logical explanation is that the paranoid ACCA officials will go to any lengths to silence reformers.
Eventually, Professor Sikka became aware of the ACCA Chief Executive’s letter and complained (letter dated 17 April 1997). The ACCA Chief Executive’s first response (18 April 1997) was to deny the whole episode by saying, “I reply to your letter of 17 April. You refer to a letter which I am supposed to have written. There is no such letter”. When Professor Sikka subsequently quoted extracts from her letter to the editor of Accountancy Age, the ACCA Chief Executive eventually (letter dated 29 April 1997) confirmed that she had written the above letter to the editor of Accountancy Age. Despite requests, the Chief Executive has failed to explain why she was conducting a vendetta against Professor Sikka. In further correspondence she was invited to give assurance that she would not indulge in such malicious activities. No such assurance has been received. The ACCA policies discredit royal charters.
In 1996, Professor Sikka was a candidate for elections to the Council. He was not successful. It is the duty of the ACCA President to declare the results of Council elections at the AGM i.e. members are informed first. The 1996, the AGM was due to be held on 9th May. However, such is the paranoid of the leadership and officials about the possible election of any reformer that they breached all normal etiquette for declaration of the results. On 7th May, the ACCA officials selectively leaked results to the press and on 8th May 1996 (a day before the AGM), The Independent (page 21) carried a story commenting that Professor Sikka was once again not elected. Why were the results leaked before being announced at the AGM?
The above draws attention to three things:
1) The ACCA officials are engaged in a vendetta against their members who in accordance with their democratic rights and the bye-laws of the Association are entitled to organise EGMs, call for reform and criticise the leadership, should they so wish. By conducting a personal vendetta against reformers, the ACCA officials have brought discredit upon whole process of granting royal charters.
2) It is understood that the results of all Council elections have to be declared to members at the AGM. However, here the ACCA officials selectively leaked them to the press. It seems that in the pursuit of some personal agenda, the ACCA officials have failed to act with integrity.
3) The ACCA officials have no right to write to any newspaper or magazine editor warning them against accepting any contributions from Professor Sikka or other reformers. Each newspaper and magazine editor is quite capable of deciding the material s/he wishes to accept or reject.
There is an obscene obsession with silencing reformers. The ACCA leadership does not even appear to realise that whatever rights and freedoms that people today enjoy are only there because someone somewhere questioned the status-quo and persuaded others that lives can be lived differently. Such rights and practices are basic elements of liberal democratic practices.