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External experts ensure independence of enquiry
Communication dated 08.03.2018
The Chairman of the Board of Directors of Swiss Post Ltd has taken further measures to conduct an uncompromising enquiry into the irregular accounting practices at PostBus Ltd and to clarify responsibilities during the period from 2007 to 2015. On Wednesday Urs Schwaller set up a panel consisting of three external experts. They are tasked with guaranteeing the independence of the external enquiry. The Chairman of the Board of Directors intends to transparently publish the report from the enquiry and the evaluation from the panel of experts following completion of their work.
“Swiss Post has lost a great deal of trust. Only an uncompromising, independent investigation of the irregular accounting practices at PostBus can help to gradually regain this trust”, said Swiss Post Chairman of the Board of Directors Urs Schwaller during a media conference in Berne. “I want complete clarity and transparency.” He is taking responsibility for ensuring the independence of the enquiry that has been launched. “I am aware that the question of independence is a sensitive issue. I do not want there to be even the slightest suspicion that Swiss Post has something to hide. Misconduct of this kind, which has clearly been committed, is unacceptable. There is no justification for it.”
Enquiry to be conducted completely autonomously of Swiss Post Group
Urs Schwaller has decided on and introduced further measures to guarantee the independence of investigations. On Wednesday he set up an independent panel of experts. This panel is headed by the former Director of the Swiss Federal Audit Office and also comprises law professors Andreas Donatsch and Felix Uhlmann. The three experts will carefully supervise and evaluate the external enquiry being conducted by the law firm Kellerhals Carrard and auditors from EY. They should guarantee the independence of the enquiry. The entire enquiry for 2007 – 2015 will be conducted separately from the rest of the Swiss Post Group. “It is important to me that this enquiry should be conducted completely autonomously of the Group”, says Urs Schwaller.
Chairman of the Board of Directors welcomes criminal proceedings by fedpol
The enquiry is expected to take some time. “On the one hand, we want to make progress. On the other hand, I expect the enquiry to be conducted in depth and with due diligence”, explains Urs Schwaller. The Chairman of the Board of Directors intends to publish the enquiry for 2007 – 2015 and the evaluation from the external panel of experts with no involvement from Swiss Post. The Swiss Post Board of Directors will then discuss the consequences and decide on and implement measures on the basis of these independent findings. “Rather than drawing any hasty conclusions, we want to act in accordance with clarified facts and responsibilities”, says Urs Schwaller. At the same time, he welcomed the additional investigations, and in particular the criminal proceedings being initiated by the Federal Office of Police (fedpol), which take precedence, and finds it important to clarify any criminal responsibilities.
Composition of the expert panel
- Kurt Grüter; an economist who was Director of the Swiss Federal Audit Office from 1998 to 2013 and has headed a number of administrative enquiries.
- Andreas Donatsch; an emeritus professor of criminal law and criminal procedural law at the University of Zurich who has in-depth knowledge of commercial law and compliance issues, consultant at the law firm Umbricht
- Prof. Dr. Felix Uhlmann; a professor of constitutional and administrative law at the University of Zurich who has extensive knowledge of public law. Consultant at the law firm Wenger Plattner
Léa Wertheimer, Tel. +41 58 341 08 84, E-Mail: Lea.Wertheimer@swisspost.ch