Allied Timbers probe nears finality

Allied Timbers workers making roof trusses

Allied Timbers workers making roof trusses

Golden Sibanda Senior Business Reporter
Chartered Accountants, KPMG, are this week expected to present findings of the forensic audit they carried on Allied Timbers to unravel suspected irregular conduct and rot during former group chief executive Dr Joseph Kanyekanye’s term of office.

Board chairman Mr Itai Ndudzo said yesterday that KPMG had informed the group that they were now tying loose ends to the audit and would present the final report by end of this week.

Mr Ndudzo said that the findings of the probe into suspected corrupt activities at Allied Timbers would provide empirical evidence against anyone implicated in wrongful doing.

He said that the internationally acclaimed chartered accountants were contracted to undertake the investigation by the auditor and comptroller general on behalf Allied Timbers.

Allied Timbers, the single biggest local player in the timber industry specialising in timber plantations, harvesting, processing and marketing of timber with operations mostly in the Eastern Highlands, Midlands and Matabeleland, is wholly owned by the Government.

The investigation into suspected irregular conduct at Altim comes barely one year after the former group chief executive left the company under controversial circumstances after the board raised several charges of misconduct against the ex-CEO.

Prior to the “mutual agreement” reached between the board and former CEO for him to leave the group, Dr Kanyekanye had been sent on forced leave to facilitate investigation into allegations of misconduct, gross insubordination, corruption and flouting of operational procedures.

Mr Ndudzo pointed out that the performance indicators of company over the past five years had not been good with the company constantly making losses while revenue has been falling.

This was however, he said, despite the fact that Allied Timbers, by nature of its business, had potential to become one of the most profitable State enterprises if it is run properly.

“The resource we are entitled to commercially exploit has also been dwindling. We looked at these negatives and said we need to be comprehensive in the way we do things,” he said.

Mr Ndudzo said the findings from the probe will define “action to be taken against those who may be implicated in acts of misconduct and also provide recommendations that speak to systems and operational models that may be faulty”.

At the time the former CEO left the group, Altim was struggling to get export orders while it Botswana unit faced mounting viability problems compounded by huge debts amid alleged irregular insider activities that weighed down the group.

To that end, the forensic audit will provide a rear view of what has happened at the company and also provide guidelines on future systems and models the company will follow.

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