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Corporate governance   
  

INTERNAL CONTROLS AND INTERNAL AUDIT

Internal controls comprise methods and procedures adopted by management to assist in achieving the objectives of safeguarding assets, preventing and detecting errors and fraud, ensuring the accuracy and completeness of accounting records and preparing reliable financial statements.

The internal audit function, which has been outsourced to an independent accounting firm, serves management and the board of directors by performing independent evaluations of the adequacy and effectiveness of the companyís controls, financial reporting mechanisms and records, information systems and operations. In reporting on the adequacy of these controls, additional assurance regarding the safe-guarding of company assets and financial information is provided.

The internal audit function is designed to respond to managementís requirements while maintaining an appropriate degree of independence to render impartial and unbiased judgements in performing its service. The internal and external auditors have unrestricted access to the chairman of the Audit Committee.

The board, operating through its Audit Committee, oversees the financial reporting process and is satisfied that the control systems are adequate for this purpose.