As part of Abaconda Management Group’s commitments to provide quality and professional services, and, as set out in the Terms of Engagement, we fully rely on the correctness and trueness of information provided by our clients. We appreciate and accept that all documentation supplied to us has been fully approved by Managers/Trustees/Directors and bears their personal signature (under their own hand). In this respect, we would like to expressly clarify that we are not equipped, and do not intend to make an expert analysis of documents and signatures provided to us, and the full responsibility of correctness and trueness remains with our clients.
However, as set out in our Terms of Engagement, in the rare case when false documents or signatures are indentified, we will reserve the right to take any actions which we deem to be appropriate in this regard. Please note that any attempt to falsify documents or signatures will be noted and archived.
Taking into consideration the development of modern technology and current business practices, we are fully committed to accepting and implementing the systems of electronic signatures and electronic verifications, however, we consider that images of signatures, facsimiles of signatures and any other identical images of signatures are invalid, unauthentic, and have no real business and legal justification. As processing of such documents entail an unnecessary amount of unproductive work, we reserve the right to charge an additional fee if such a situation is detected.
The use of images of signatures, facsimiles of signatures and any other identical images of signatures is limited, restricted or prohibited by several aspects of New Zealand legislation and business practice, which directly affect:
The Companies Act 1993 clearly sets out the duties of a Director, and prescribes the personal responsibility of each and every member of the Board of Directors in regards to actions and commitments made, and in this respect each and every Director is personally responsible for the actions of the Board, and it is in the best interest of the Company and the Directors to personally attend to every document, communication, commitment, contract, etc. Any signature other than the personal signature of the Director could, in some cases, be deemed to be false or could be classified as a breach of responsibility, and may cause legal or civil prosecution.
Current New Zealand legislation clearly states that Trustees must attend their duties personally. Any document which are approved on behalf of the Trustees or on behalf of the Trust must be clearly indicated as being acknowledged and signed personally by each particular Trustee, with obvious indication of when such action has taken place.
National and international Anti-Money Laundering regulations prescribe a series of particular steps which every legal entity must carry out in order to verify the authenticity of each particular document. Any signature which cannot be confirmed as being authentic and personally given must be treated as false and fraudulent, and may be reported accordingly.
In course of providing professional service, most accountants prepare a compilation report only, and are not required to check the validity of the documents supplied by the customer. However, every customer must warrant and guarantee to their accountant that all information submitted is true and correct, and, in most cases, the personal signature of the Director or Trustee is the only means of making such verifications, and a lack of authenticity of a document may consequently provoke an accountant to take appropriate actions. Also, most professional accountants are subject to the regulations and Codes of Conduct of their professional bodies and will not tolerate knowingly unauthentic documents.
The verification of the authenticity of information and documents is one of the main aspects in the process of auditing of the financial documentation of a legal entity. Due to the specificity of their work and the requirements of current regulations, an Auditor cannot accept documents which are knowingly unauthentic or incorrect, and, in some cases, such occurrence will be noted in their professional report. Also, all auditors in New Zealand are subject to the regulations and Codes of Conduct of their professional bodies and will report any fraudulent or illicit activities which they noted during their professional course of action.
One of the most recent precedents was set on 14 Dec 2010 in the High Court of New Zealand, where specific concerns were raised regarding the validity of “identical electronic signatures” being affixed to documents under the name of the Director of a company.
NOTE: The conditions stipulated above are addressed at the use of images of signatures, facsimiles of signatures and any other identical images of signatures in the original documents only, and do not cover the use of copies of previously rightfully and correctly signed documents.