Price Waterhouse Coopers East Caribbean Firm pays a “Psycholinguistics expert” CAD $28,320 to defend Peter Simmons!

When Peter Simmons used threatening language against a Canadian lawyer, and indicated that a professor at UWI would lose his job if he continued to testify, he did not know that he was being tape-recorded. This tape is evidence in the Canadian action, a case involving Kingsland Estates Limited. Why did Price Waterhouse pony up CAD $28,320 to Forensic Psycholinguistics, LLC to defend the brother of the Chief Justice? (Yes, I have posted a copy of the bill a few paragraphs below.)

What is the Connection between Peter Simmons and PwC?

One connection is that Peter Simmons and PwC are both defendants in the Canadian action. Could there be more connections?

Businesses like PwC are managed to make a profit. Accepted practices dictate that when a business expends a large sum of money on an item, this expenditure must be justified. Some benefit, be it tangible or intangible, is expected from the investment.

If Simmons were found guilty of making telephone threats, it should not affect disinterested parties! Why would PwC, the auditor of Kingsland care about what Simmons does?

PwC’s concern and financial support for Simmons may be logically construed to imply a material connection between the auditor and Peter Simmons.

What is the connection between Simmons and PwC?

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Peter Simmons

Peter Simmons was a principal of Simmons Bannister and Greaves (SBG). SBG was involved in secret negotiations with at least some of the directors of Kingsland Estates Limited (Kingsland). They made a lowball offer for Kingsland. This purchase was opposed by Marjorie Knox, holder of a seventh of Kingsland’s shares. More of the SBG offer can be read on my expose on SBG. My SBG revelations appeared to touch a raw nerve in Barbados. The violent reaction was remarkable as the general Barbadian public has no emotional stake in this issue. The article precipitated many vile threats, including one demanding an apology, and another threatening to burst open my elderly mother’s head with a big rock!

Peter Simmons is a former High Commissioner and a brother to the Honourable Sir David Simmons, the Chief Justice of Barbados and a co-defendant in the Canadian action.

The External Auditors of Kingsland

For many years the accounting firm, Coopers and Lybrand (C&L), performed two important functions for Kingsland: internal accountant and external auditor. In other words, C&L kept the books as accountant, and the later checked the books for accuracy as external auditor. At some point in time C&L became PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) and assumed responsibility for Coopers and Lybrand’s accounts. (The full name on the court document is PricewaterhouseCoopers Eastern Caribbean Firm.) So under one name or other, as auditors they would have had continuous responsibility to the shareholders over the relevant time period. Mrs. Knox and her family held the opinion that the audited reports were not only infrequent but misleading.

Different Interests

When Simmon’s company was trying to buy all of Kingsland’s shares for a low price, Coopers and Lybrand were auditing the books and had the responsibility of ensuring that Kingsland’s shareholders had an accurate picture of the financial status of the company.

To put it simply, Simmons had an interest to bargain for a low price and the auditors should have had a duty to inform the shareholders of the financial condition and worth of the company. C&L produced no figures for years prior to the SBG offer.

Auditor helps Simmons - never advanced this kind of help for Kingsland audit!

As far as I know, PwC never gave this kind of help to the Kingsland’s shareholders who wanted figures! Audited Financial Statements for Kingsland were produced by Coopers & Lybrand in 1989 for period 1983-89. Six years in arrears? Since then, there have been many delays, including, to the best of my knowledge, no Financials for the past three years! Kingsland was doing little business with the land allowed to run to bush. An audit would have been simple and inexpensive, but both Coopers and PwC appeared to be unwilling to advance any resources towards this service. Now the purse strings are miraculously released in defense of another defendant’s phone call!


Disclaimer: We wish to remind our readers that while we quote public court documents, the contents of these documents should be taken as unproven allegations. What we state here is our opinion. On the other hand, we welcome and value comments. Under the circumstances, anonymous comments are most welcome. The judge’s ruling on this matter will be posted after I post a transcript of the call. Iain Deane may have already posted it.