Zimbabwe Cricket audit hits a snag
ZIMBABWE Cricket (ZC) has admitted that its annual audit, which was required to be submitted to the ICC within six months of the financial year-end, is yet to be finalised more than three months after it was due.
“The audit is going on. It will be premature for us to comment on it at this stage,” Tavenga Mukuhlani, ZC’s chairman, told ESPNcricinfo. “We have a road map in place to finalise the audit and when we are done we will be able to respond to your questions.”
In February the ICC amended its rules to require Full Members to submit an unqualified audit within six months of their financial year-end.
ZC’s financial year runs from January to December and so an audit should have been submitted by the end of June.
It is understood that ZC has remained in regular communication with the ICC about the delays to allay any concerns thus far, and the ICC is expecting an audit soon.
In the event that ZC is unable to deliver the audit to the ICC, or end up producing a qualified audit, the ICC can raise questions.
Concerns around ZC’s accounts started to emerge when board members were sent a document that was supposedly an audit of the 2015 accounts ahead of the Annual General Meeting on September 14.
As was initially reported in the Zimbabwe Independent, the document raised eyebrows among members of the board for the way figures were thrown around without sufficient explanation for how the money had been spent.
The document, which ESPNcricinfo has a copy of, lists tour expenses of $5.2 million despite the fact that a majority of Zimbabwe’s series during the year were bankrolled by other parties.
Zimbabwe’s main visitors in 2015 were New Zealand and Pakistan, but Total Sports Marketing, a Bangladesh sports marketing agency, held the marketing and broadcast rights for the tours and was responsible for the expenses.
Ireland and Afghanistan also toured, but Afghanistan paid their own way.
Members of the ZC board, which underwent something of an overhaul in August 2015, questioned how the tour expenses figure was so high.
“Most tours in 2015 were fully funded,” an insider told ESPNcricinfo. From our investigations, it will take great extravagance for the total cost of all tours in 2015 to reach a million dollars.”
These and other issues were raised at the AGM, which was unable to continue after the accounts were rejected, creating the need for a Special General Meeting. The day before the AGM, the auditing firm responsible for compiling ZC’s financial statements dissociated itself from the document presented to board members, saying that it was yet to complete the audit.
The firm, HLB Zimbabwe, had begun the audit process but became hamstrung when it requested additional information from ZC that was not forthcoming.
In a letter to ZC dated September 13, HLB representative Clement Ruzengwe wrote: “We have been waiting for outstanding information in order to complete the audit, which has not been forthcoming from Zimbabwe Cricket.
“We are thus surprised that the audit report for that year (2015) has been circulated to the Board.
“If indeed an audit report has been circulated to the Board, this has been done without our knowledge or authorisation.
“We disassociate ourselves from that report, and we request an explanation from your good offices as to how that report, purported to have come from us, has ended up in your board papers.”
Following the AGM a ZC board memo, which ESPNcricinfo has seen, was circulated with an engagement plan between ZC and the auditor.
Yet it is understood that no engagement has taken place, and that the Special General Meeting set for last Friday was cancelled. Asked why the SGM had been cancelled, a ZC spokesman did not respond.
ZC has endured financial difficulty for more than a decade, and Mukuhlani recently admitted in an interview that the organisation was $19 million in debt.
As a result, Zimbabwe’s players have often waited months for match fees, and most recently went on strike on the day of the AGM.
Some players had not been paid match fees dating back to July last year, while there was also frustration at delays in handing out contracts.
The players returned to training five days later after being given an assurance by Wilfred Mukondiwa, ZC’s managing director, that the backlog of payments would be cleared.
Central contracts have subsequently been awarded, although the list has not been officially released. — ESPNCricinfo