Allied probe report release date pushed forward

HARARE - Auditing firm, KPMG, has pushed forward the release date of a forensic audit report they are carrying on State-owned wood processing firm Allied Timbers (Allied), it has emerged.

The report, which was due last week Friday, is expected to unravel suspected irregular conduct and misappropriation of company funds by former group chief executive Joseph Kanyekanye.

Sources at the timber processing group yesterday told the businessdaily that the auditors who were handling the timber processor’s Botswana unit’s audit had delayed in submitting findings, thus necessitating the deadline extension.

“Stakeholders were on Monday advised that the senior audit partner has extended the period of the report to February 16, 2016.

“This is due to the Botswana element being done by KPMG Botswana and the need to consolidate all the findings,” the source said.

In 2014, government also launched a forensic investigation into Allied Timbers Botswana amid allegations Kanyekanye had attempted to suppress evidence on his alleged siphoning of funds from the Botswana unit.

The report comes after the timber processor sent Kanyekanye on forced leave end of 2014 on allegations of misappropriation of company funds as the ministry of Environment then promptly dissolved the Allied board.

But, in a statement issued on Monday evening, Kanyekanye said he “welcomes any forensic audit report now and in the future” adding one could not “invent corruption which he knows he never engaged in”.

“This latest report is coming ahead of two similar forensic reports commissioned by the Auditor and Comptroller General and the board which did not find any conflict of interest, preferential treatment let alone corruption in my administration of Allied Timbers,” he said.

Board chairman, Itayi Ndidzo, last week said the group’s board was going to “professionally implement” recommendations from a forensic audit once it was released.

According to Ndudzo, the Auditor and Comptroller General-sanctioned report was going to equip the group to take action on allegations against former leadership.

The first audit on Allied was conducted by BDO Zimbabwe in 2013, but while it exonerated Kanyekanye, government expressed reservations on the credibility of the report as it was conducted while the former chief was still with the company.

Apart from the corrupt activities, some Allied executives were suspended based on incompetence accusations after leading the company into a rut.

Allied presently owes creditors and former workers millions for unfair labour practices and is bleeding from litigation.

The government owned timber processor is presently looking at doubling its export revenue, taking advantage of the growing demand for timber in Mozambique and Zambia.

Currently, exports contribute about 20 percent to the company’s revenue but the increase in demand for timber in Mozambique and Zambia will see regional sales accounting for 40 percent.

Allied has three divisions Allied Timbers Zimbabwe, Allied Timbers Saligna and Altim Zimbabwe.

Its operations involve plantations, harvesting and processing, marketing and selling of both pine and gum and are mainly concentrated in the Eastern Highlands and the Midlands.

The company specialises in sawn timber, poles, and various other value added timber-based products such as doors, flooring timber and blackboards.

 

Comments (1)

“I welcome any forensic audit report now and in the future,and one can not invent corruption which he knows he never engaged in”. This is a very bold assertion, for it never rains, but it pours at Allied Timbers. Kanyekanye inherited the reins of this entity from a very corrupt management team then, which included his recently appointed replacement and to quote the late Mwalimu Julius Nyerere, "The entity was jewel of forestry practice, that was systematically bruised to the ground.

Mukanya - 28 January 2016

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