Clearing up my old notes for the examinations I undertook for the diploma in Anti-Money Laundering…
It is related to a blogpost by Eugene Ang dated 7 Dec 2010 entitled <Whistleblowers – To protect or Not> on the Singapore Law Review (online).
He referred to sections from the Companies Act which I reproduce extracts as below:
Powers and duties of auditors as to reports on accounts
(9C) An auditor who is under a legal duty under any other written law to make a report to the Monetary Authority of Singapore in relation to an offence involving fraud or dishonesty that he becomes aware in the course of the performance of his duties as auditor, shall not be required to make a report to the Minister under subsection (9A) if he has already made a report in relation to the same offence under that written law to the Monetary Authority of Singapore.
Auditors and other persons to enjoy qualified privilege in certain circumstances
—(1) An auditor shall not, in the absence of malice on his part, be liable to any action for defamation at the suit of any person in respect of any statement which he makes in the course of his duties as auditor, whether the statement is made orally or in writing.
(2) A person shall not, in the absence of malice on his part, be liable to any action for defamation at the suit of any person in respect of the publication of any document prepared by an auditor in the course of his duties and required by this Act to be lodged with the Registrar.
(3) This section does not limit or affect any other right, privilege or immunity that an auditor or other person has as defendant in an action for defamation.
Of course, the plausible auditor scenario is one where the whistleblower is not part of the crime. The extended question that Ang raises is should a whistleblower, who was actually part of the offence be free from liability? He mentioned that ‘immunity’ was given for those culpable in bribery cases in the Philippines. That is one extreme. Well, no decision for me yet…