K34 million ZNFU plunder…
THE Zambia Institute of Chartered Accountants (ZICA) says it will only step in to address some of the concerns raised by the Zambia National Famers Union (ZNFU) once the organisation officially writes to it while Civil Society for Poverty Reduction (CSPR) has called for an immediate action against erring officers at ZNFU who were believed to have misappropriated over K34 Million for personal gain.
ZICA chief executive officer Hapenga Kabeta told the Daily Nation yesterday that ZICA was a professional body that did not operate on speculation or media statements but acted on facts made available through the right channel.
Commenting on ZNFU board’s resolution to among other things, compel ZICA to review the entire audit process and findings of the EMM Corporate Partners with a view to appoint an independent auditor to be agreed upon between the cooperating partners and ZNFU, Mr. Kabeta said ZNFU was putting ZICTA in an awkward position because it was in the dark concerning the audit that had raised the concerns.
“So, concerning the issues they have raised, we have a Practice Review Department in ZICA whose role is to audit the auditor because every audit that is conducted needs to be done in accordance with international standards in audit.
“However, ZICA cannot do anything. ZNFU cannot address ZICA through the media because this is meant for public consumption. They have put us in a dock. They need to write to us so that we fully understand the context because within that statement they have given, they have basically complained to us, questioning the conduct of the auditor and the auditor in question is regulated by us,” Mr. Kabeta said.
He said the case at hand was special because ZICA did not know who had commissioned the audit between ZNFU and the donors because there were clear procedures that needed to be followed before engaging any firm to audit an institution. He said since ZICA was in the dark concerning what the audit, it would wait until ZNFU clarified that the issues surrounding the contentious audit.
“In this particular situation, it appears as if the audit was commissioned by SIDA. And what doesn’t come out clearly is whether this was a forensic audit or an ordinally audit. When such an audit is done, there is an audit process where the scope is clearly presented to the board of directors and the board of directors approves that audit.
“Where a donor wants to conduct an audit into an institution where they are providing funding, the donor and the board of directors must work together through the joint meetings. During such meetings, the donor will raise concerns with regard to the information that comes to their attention and then they will request or demand for an audit to be conducted and the company or entity that commissions such an audit is ordinarily the board of directors,” he said.
CSPR-Advocacy and communications programmes Officer Maxson Nkhoma told the Daily Nation that his organisation had been following the turn of events at ZNFU with keen interest and that it was disturbed to learn of allegations against the named had appealed to government to immediately come to the rescue of the farming community in Zambia by conducting forensic investigations at ZNFU.
“CSPR finds it hard and extremely very difficult to comprehend how officials at ZNFU Head Office could misappropriate such a huge amount of money which was meant to benefit the poor small scale farmers across the Country”.