THE Zambia Nation Farmers Union (ZNFU) has described as inconsistent and without credibility the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA)-sponsored preliminary forensic audit report which alleged massive plunder and looting of donor funds exceeding K34 million.
The farmers union has since requested the Zambia Institute of Chartered Accountants (ZICA) to appoint a high-level team of independent experts to, among other things, review the terms of reference of the audit. Announcing the resolutions of its special board meeting yesterday, ZNFU first vice-president Richard Lisimba lampooned Elasto Mambo of EMM Corporate Partners, the company that conducted the audit, claiming that the auditors did not have credibility.
Mr Lisimba told journalists yesterday after a six-hour meeting that ZNFU had rejected the SIDA forensic audit report because it had serious inconsistencies and lacked credibility and should therefore be completely set aside.
He said because of the inconsistencies in the report and its lack of credibility, it had therefore become imperative that a professional body such as ZICA should be engaged to interrogate the professional conduct of the auditor and the auditee.
He said ZICA should also review the entire audit process and the findings with a view to appointing an independent auditor to be agreed upon between the cooperating partners (donors) and the Zambia National Farmers Union.
“At the special board meeting of the ZNFU board of directors, members considered the preliminary audit report commissioned by SIDA and carried out by Elasto Mambo of EMM Corporate Partners and found that the report had serious inconsistencies and lacked credibility.
‘‘The board therefore resolved that the so-called special audit report be set aside. ZNFU has requested the Zambia Institute of Chartered Accountants to appoint a high-level panel of independent experts to review the terms of reference of the audit.
‘‘It has also been resolved that ZICA should interrogate the professional conduct of the auditor and the auditee,” Mr Lisimba said.
He stated that the board had further observed that the auditor had inadequate understanding of ZNFU operations and its partnership arrangements with the donors under the core support programme.
Mr Lisimba said the SIDA preliminary forensic audit report did not give any substantiated evidence of fraud of both ZNFU and the donor funds.
Mr board meeting was attended by ZNFU president Dr Evelyn Nguleka, Messrs A.J. Moffat, Ashok Oza, Dave Gordon, Joseph Lungu and Doreen Mwanza.
There have been claims by sources close to events at ZNFU that the fraud and plunder allegations were as a result of the fight over the US$700 000 shares the farmers union is holding in the Zambia National Commercial Bank (ZANACO), owned by Rabobank.
It has been revealed that when Rabobank was allowed to buy 51 percent shares in ZANACO, the Dutch firm offered close to four percent shares in the bank to farmers in Zambia through ZNFU.
The officials at ZNFU have accused four white Zambian farmers who, through the Livestock Services Cooperative Society, managed to purchase the shares on behalf of ZNFU under what was called Lizara Investment Limited, a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) which was to protect the interests of livestock services.