Martin Kadzere Senior Business Reporter
FORMER Allied Timbers chief executive Dr Joseph Kanyekanye is alleged not to have remitted tax on benefits amounting to about $300 000 from 2009 to 2014 and the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority is now seeking to recover part of its dues from his terminal benefits.
Dr Kanyekanye left the group in February after agreeing to a “mutual separation” with the company.
Allied Timbers, a State-owned firm, was placed under formal investigation by Zimra last year covering the period between February 2009 and June 2014, sources said this week.
The benefits, which were not taxed include housing, holiday and motoring allowances.
“That period saw him accruing a tax liability of $293 698,19 being a principal amount of $174 102,50, an interest of $32 544,35 and penalties amounting to $87 051,28,” a source familiar with the matter said.
“It is now a case to recover the money and a directive has since been given to Allied Timbers to forward his terminal benefits to Zimra.”
Last Wednesday, the High Court ruled that Dr Kanyakanye be paid his terminal benefits amounting to $54 000 (after tax). The order was granted in default by Justice Maremba. No official comment could be obtained from Allied Timbers and Dr Kanyekanye at the time of going to print. The investigations also established that Allied Timbers has a tax liability of about $700 000.
Last year, Allied Timbers appointed KPMG to carry out a forensic audit to establish if there was impropriety in the conduct of Dr Kanyekanye. Charges against him might be raised if the audit establish financial impropriety at the company, officials said.
Last week, Allied Timbers chairman Mr Itayi Ndudzo confirmed the report was being finalised.
He said the findings of the probe into suspected corrupt activities would provide empirical evidence against anyone implicated in any wrongdoing.
Mr Ndudzo noted that the performance indicators of the company over the past five years had not been good with the company constantly making losses while revenues had been falling.
By nature of the business, he said Allied Timbers could have been one of the profitable State enterprises. The findings of the investigations will define “action to be taken against those who may be implicated in act of misconduct and also provide recommendations that speaks to systems and operational models that may be fault,” said Allied Timbers chairman.
Prior to the termination of Dr Kanyekanye’s contract, he was on suspension after the board raised several charges of misconduct against him.
The suspension was meant to facilitate investigations into his conduct, which bordered on corruption, failure to observe operating procedures and gross insubordination. He denied the allegations.
Dr Kanyekanye was the founding chief executive of Forestry Company of Zimbabwe (now Allied Timbers) after the unbundling of the Forestry Commission of Zimbabwe in 2004. 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. Its operations are concentrated mainly 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.