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(A)Sathyam Fiasco: Ramalinga Raju is More Efficient than the Lakshar-e-Taiba

Discussion in 'Wednesdays with Varalotti' started by varalotti, Jan 8, 2009.

  1. varalotti

    varalotti IL Hall of Fame

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    The Developments in Satyam Case:

    01 Satyam requires Rs. 1000 crores immediately to pay rent in the US and salaries. Government is almost ready to shell out this amount. But the problem is that nobody knows even now the extent or the nature of the fraud. Government is seriously considering an interim package of Rs. 2000 crores (something like what the US Govt did to AIG and other companies) to bail out Satyam.

    02 One of the auditors, Mr. Gopalakrishnan of PWC (some reports say it is Ramakrishnan) has been arrested. PWCs offices have been raided. The pity is that that the arrested auditor signed the balance sheet in 2005. The auditor who signed the balance sheets in 2006, 2007 and 2008 has not been arrested or interrogated.

    02 PM Manmohan Singh held discussions with Kamal Nath, P.Chidambaram, Prem Chand Gupta and Monteq Singh Ahluwalia.
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table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-qformat:yes; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin-top:0in; mso-para-margin-right:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:10.0pt; mso-para-margin-left:0in; text-align:justify; line-height:115%; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:11.0pt; font-family:"Calibri","sans-serif"; mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-fareast-theme-font:minor-fareast; mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;} </style> <![endif]-->[FONT=&quot]“Every document is forged and the government cannot make an assessment now", one of the ministers told the press after the meeting.

    03 Meanwhile PWC in a desperate attempt of damage control met some senior bureaucrats and ministers in the Government. They have categorically told them that the existence of FD receipts to the tune of Rs. 3200 crores was physically verified by them. This seems innocuous but is likely to be the biggest bomb shell in the whole scam. If PWC proves that the FDRs actually existed on the date of balance sheet i.e. 31st March, 2008 the implication is that Raju and Co should have subsequently withdrawn the amount and should have siphoned off the money.

    04 The Mediclaim renewal of all the Satyam employees falls due in another four days. Satyam has a Group Mediclaim with IFFO Tokio Insurance, whose Financial Advisor Mr. Tandon has confirmed the fact of renewal. This could be a serious blow now to the Satyamites as it is likely that the policy may not be renewed. My suggestion to the Satyamites will be to go for at least a modest medical cover of Rs. 1 lakh per family member including hospitalisation. If you are a family of three or four, the cost will be in the range of Rs. 4000 to Rs. 8000 depending on your age. If your spouse is employed in some other company which has a mediclaim coverage, then there is no need to worry.

    05 An investigation conducted by the Registrar of Companies revealed that the senior Satyam officials sold 60 lakhs shares of Satyam in 2008. And there were sales occuring days before Raju made the confession. One of the officials so indicted is none other than the interim CEO Mynampati.

    06 Infosys Narayanamurthi has clarified his earlier stand that Infosys might not take any Satyam employees was only to help Satyam in its troubled times. But Infosys saying that it is not averse to taking any clients from Satyam makes us doubt his bona fides. That is especially after NASSCOM passionately requesting all the software companies not to poach Satyam's clients.

    Now dears that's the news so far. Getting panicky is not going to help us. I will suggest to Satyamites to get into a kind of survival mode. Spend only on things that are absolutely essential. And above all don't let these things get into your heart. As I have been repeatedly saying your security does not come from Satyam (or for that matter any other company). It comes from you. So long as you have your skillsets intact, so long as you can learn new skills, the world is going to need you. Use this opportunity to learn more about life. As Rudyard Kipling used to say, 'Even this shall pass away.'
    We, the 40000 ILites are with you and are constantly praying for your welfare. God won't let us down. Best of luck,
    with love,
    sridhar




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  2. varalotti

    varalotti IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear Teju,

    Just see my latest post on the developments. One theory is that the money was there in 2008 which he subsequently siphoned off for his property deals. Raju should have thought that any day accounts fudging is a lesser offence than stealing money. This theory grows stronger because the auditors are adamant that they verified the FDs.

    The Big Four (formerly Big Five) has been constantly teaching us a profound lesson. Whatever is big need not necessarily be good. E.F.Schumacher wrote a wonderful book Small is Beautiful. As a CA I am tempted to call the Big Four, the Mean Four.

    In 2004 we were engaged to do an assignment in Singapore. I had estimated my time and had quoted a fee. The client told me, 'With that kind of fee, I can go to the Big Four.' I told him that I will even help him in the process.

    So we went to PWC to discuss the case. After hearing us out for two hours PWC quoted a fee equivalent to 10 times of what I quoted. And to top it all insisted to the client that I should stay back to co-ordinate the assignment. Which meant that the client has to pay for my services as well. The client was chastised sufficiently and entrusted the assignment to me.

    Since you are a CA yourself, I can share some professional insights with you. We are a very small firm compared to the giants. Small CA firms are often accused of not having enough working papers. To a great extent it is true. We are more interested in getting the work done than showing to the client and the world that we did this work and that work.

    Now my charge against the big firms is that they tend to think that the purpose of an audit is to build enough working papers. I have seen those people carrying thousands of sheets of papers in their files, about 90% of them will be information already available and perfectly useless.

    Another question. As of now Peer Review has been introduced by our Institute. Which means PWC's work would have been independently reviewed by another CA firm. What was their view?

    Satyam's shares are listed in the NYSE. The US Government has constituted a Public Companies Accounting Oversight Board PCAOB in the wake of the Enron and World Comm scams. Even PCAOB has failed to find out the scam which has been happening for 7 years.

    And you know Teju, PCAOB reviewed two firms one was PWC and the other KPMG. PwCs audit of Satyam and KPMGs audit of Infosys was reviewed. And they did not find out anything. Surprise of Surprises. May God save our world.

    love,
    sridhar





     
  3. Varloo

    Varloo Gold IL'ite

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    Hi all,
    I am yet to go thro all the replies here, only some I read. I want to say one thing for now. When a youngester got an IT job, he/she felt so superior even to their own parents (who may be earning not even half of that after so many years of employement). But they forgot that those same parents managed a family, helped siblings, saved for a rainy day and managed to buy a house. That attitude is what I find hard to digest. They looked down upon middle aged people and those who are not tech savvy, nearly insulted them for not being tech savvy. They did not understand that they are like this because all that is happening for them at the right time. That is why people are feeling nearly happy that IT is slowing down. I shall read all the replies, so much information is there.
     
  4. AmritaPoorni

    AmritaPoorni Bronze IL'ite

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    Hi Sridhar Sir,

    Thanks for your advice.

    Love,
    AmritaPoorni:)
     
  5. teju

    teju Senior IL'ite

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    Dear Sridhar Sir,
    Thanks for your insights.
    I have always believed that small and medium firms give more exposure to budding CAs than the bigger firms. I did my articles in a small firm and am very satisfied with what I had learnt. I am sure the learning is limited in the big 4 compared to the smaller firms.
    Its very funny to read the incident that happened in 2004. Many companies think that international is better that indian, but thats all the hype, the price is also skyhigh.
    Peer review - thats a good question. Hope our Institute digs up that report.
    The PCAOB review - Wonder of wonders!! How come this scam never came up then? Sometimes it makes me wonder about the sanctity of everything under the sun. Have you see the movie "the Truman Show". Sometimes I feel like I am in that kind of a world where everything is just make believe.
    God bless us!!
     
  6. ShardaSuresh

    ShardaSuresh Bronze IL'ite

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    Dear Sridhar,

    Thanks for taking so much time to keep us updated of the happenings.

    I would like to ask you one question 'What is your opinion of the Government Bailout' ? If you are in favor, please tell us to what extent the Govt. should interfere.

    Please answer this in light of the fact that Sathyam as a company has been exempt from corporate taxes for all these years. So why should the common man bear the burden of the lying and cheating millionaires.
     
  7. varalotti

    varalotti IL Hall of Fame

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    Further Developments:

    Deloitte Haskins and Sells and KPMG have been appointed to investigate the affairs of Satyam.

    Personally and as a professional of 25 years standing, I don't understand this mad rush to run behind the Big Four. People naively think that if you have a big weapon you automatically win the war. What you need is the intelligence to use it. Why don't they consider an Indian firm for the purpose? We have many big Indian firms which can handle the brief. Then why go to the Mean Four (sorry, I don't call them Big Four any longer)

    When asked whether the government would provide financial assistance to Satyam to tide over the current crisis, Mr Gupta (Union Minister for Corporate Affairs) said: “Let us not create panic in the market... (and) minds of employees. Things are being looked into by the government.”

    Meanwhile Satyam is looking out for a new CEO and a CFO. This is going to be a really crucial task as nobody would volunteer for this kind of an onerous job now.

    Meanwhile PWC gave a kind of comic relief to the whole saga. While telling the new Management that they have been auditing Satyam's accounts since June 2000 (till Sep 2008) they have now come out with a brilliant statement and the first good joke to come out in the whole affair: The Audit reports may be deemed to be unreliable. That is a kind of professional euphemism for saying, 'Hi there.We are all thieves. And we cheated you all.'

    And as if this comedy is not enough they tried a more hilarious act in the very next second. 'We relied on the statements provided by the Management.'

    If PwC has to just hear what Raju has to say and sign below the dotted lines, well, its job could have been more efficiently handled by my office boy who brings tea to me regularly two times in a day. And could be done at a fraction of the total cost.

    If somebody of my stature, a small mofussil accountant auditing small companies (about a thousandths of Satyam's size) were to make a similar statement, people will throw stones at me. PwC being PwC has the prerogative to crack such good jokes even at this odd hour.

    When a CA in Mumbai was told about PwC's "quotable quotes" he told the media, 'Kick them out of India.'

    Another interesting development is that most of the top brass of Satyam have flown out of the country. Ram Mynampati and his next of family are all US citizens and they are in the US now. Veerendra Agarwal is in Singapore and Senior VP Keshab Panda has pushed off to London.

    love,
    sridhar
     
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2009
  8. varalotti

    varalotti IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear Teju,
    You are right, it's more like a Truman show movie. All make believe stuff.
    And they have gone ahead appointing other two firms of the Mean Four (I don't want to call them Big Four) Deloitte and KPMG to restate the accounts. May God save us!

    love,
    sridhar
     
  9. varalotti

    varalotti IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear Sharda,

    That's a very delicate question. I approach the problem in this way.
    The very basis of Capitalism as opposed to Socialism is the total non-interference of Government in the affairs of the enterprises.

    If Satyam had really made thousands of crores as profit and our Government had wanted to nationalize Satyam, there would have been a hue an cry.

    The crucial point of capitalism is that let the efficient ones stay afloat and the inefficient ones sink. By that principle we have to just Satyam sink on its own.

    Giving tax payers money to Satyam Government is in a way betraying the common man.

    But there is a clear case of difference here. Satyam is also holding 53000 employees as hostages. We have to think of them first. Satyam Management looks like a terrorist holding the employees as hostages. So though we are opposed to the bailout in principle, at least for the sake of those employees, our brothers and sisters, we have to close our eyes to that.

    Another concern is that the bailout may not go to the intended beneficiaries. And might set up a bad precedent for other companies. Suppose tomorrow if another unscrupulous company fails, there will be a request for bail-out.

    Bail-outs and a free market economy cannot exist in the same place.

    Somebody said that a new entity "Alt Satyam" has to be created and all the employees, and the processes should be transferred there. Then we should invite the other software companies to take over the customers,processes and the employees in one go. It is easier said than done.

    love,
    sridhar
     
  10. Shanvy

    Shanvy IL Hall of Fame

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    Sridhar,

    I am against the government bailing out satyam, not because i am not compassionate about the 53k people. as you should be aware, there are lot of companies right now reeling under the down turn.

    Ford has cut its production, dunlop factory in kolkotta has been closed, ashok leyland also has its problems.

    There are a lot of other small concerns that are closing down.

    Now, wouldn't the government be setting an bad example by bailing out satyam, what if this comes precedence for others.

    Already there are questions raised about why Mr.PM did do much for the disinvestment in NLC's case. is it because a.p is congress ruled..

    Let us not argue that politics is not throwing its power around. the whole scam would not be so huge if it was not for the comfy level that raju had with the polictical arena.

    some of the government bailouts have never been successful.

    regarding the big four, now the who is stronger and better is going to happen. these two are going to show that PWC did make mistakes..it is obvious. deloitte has a stronger presence in AP so again powerplays.
     

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