Government has approved the publication of the Companies Bill 2021
The Bill will establish the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement (ODCE) as a separate body, rather than its current form as an office within the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment (the Department). The new body will be named the Corporate Enforcement Authority (Authority) and its functions and powers will include those currently held by the ODCE, with additional powers and functions to give it more flexibility and autonomy.
It is intended that the Companies (Corporate Enforcement Authority) Bill 2021 will be introduced to the Houses of the Oireachtas in September 2021. The new functions include:
- Encouraging compliance with the Companies Act 2014
- Investigations of suspected offences and non-compliance under that act
- Prosecution of summary offences
- Referring indictable offences to the Director of Public Prosecutions, and
- The exercise of certain supervisory functions with respect to liquidators and receivers
The Bill provides for up to three full time commissioners, entitled Members, one of whom would be designated as Chairperson of the CEA. It is designed to give the new Authority the flexibility to structure itself in future to meet the differing and evolving demands of its remit, which includes investigation, prosecution, supervision, and advocacy, and along clear lines of responsibility.
The Bill gives the CEA the ability to appoint its own staff. As for the ODCE, there is provision in the Bill for secondment of Gardaí to the CEA. The Bill also includes a section on the accountability of the CEA to Oireachtas Committees.
The SFA will be monitoring the passage and debates on the bill and will inform members of any upcoming changes.