Zim­babwe Cricket au­dit hits a snag

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Sport -

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

Tavenga Mukuh­lani

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