UK authorities have opened an investigation into the six-year financial statements of Go-Ahead, which here operates dozens of Irish bus routes for the government under contracts with the National Transport Authority (NTA).
The UK’s accounting regulator, the Financial Reporting Council, announced that it made a decision on March 22 to open an inquiry into Deloitte’s audit of Go-Ahead’s financial affairs by the end of each year from 2016 to 2021.
The Financial Reporting Council regulates accountants and auditors, which is why its investigation focuses on Deloitte, not the company itself.
Deloitte (Northern Ireland) is listed in the accounts of Go Ahead’s Irish branch as the firm’s auditor here.
It comes after the publicly traded bus and train franchise operator was fined £23.5million by the UK government last month.
Go-Ahead said last December that an independent review had uncovered “serious errors” at its London and south-east rail concession company, which had led to overcharging UK government contracts for a number of years.
A spokesman for Go Ahead confirmed that the Financial Reporting Council’s investigation relates to Deloitte’s audits of the Go Ahead group as a whole, including the entity here in Ireland.
But they said the independent panel that found the flaws in Britain’s rail contracts had investigated and found no concerns elsewhere in the group.
Go-Ahead operates more than 6,000 buses in the UK in addition to passenger trains which the company operates in Norway, Germany, Singapore and here in Ireland.
It won its first Irish contract in 2017 to operate 24 bus routes in the capital previously operated by Dublin Bus. These routes involve 125 buses and 350 drivers, according to the Irish subsidiary’s most recently completed accounts.
A later order for six commuter routes through Offaly, Laois, Kildare and Meath led to the hiring of 80 more drivers.
These latest accounts relate to the 2020 financial year and show that the company has achieved a profit after tax of 1.4 million euros, even in the face of the major disruptions caused by the Covid pandemic, which has largely paralyzed the economy.
https://www.independent.ie/business/world/probe-launched-into-years-of-audits-at-bus-franchise-operator-go-ahead-41548051.html Probe started in year-long audits at bus franchise operator Go-Ahead