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Vela escalates BDO fight

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BY HARRIET CHIKANDIWA

FORMER National Social Security Authority (Nssa) chairperson Robin Vela has requested that the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Zimbabwe to probe BDO Zimbabwe head, Ngoni Kudenga and his counterpart Gilbert Gwatiringa for unprofessional conduct, escalating his fight against the audit firm.

Vela was relieved of his duties as Nssa board chair in 2018 on the basis that he was no longer resident in the country as prescribed by the Nssa Act. A BDO forensic investigation report released last year later implicated him in corruption at the State pensions manager.

He denied wrongdoing and in July, High Court judge Justice Webster Chinamora quashed the BDO report, describing it as “biased”, “incompetent” and “riddled with inaccuracies.”

The audit report was also later discredited by a South African forensic audit firm, Nexus Forensic Service headed by Advocate Werner Bouwer.

In a letter to ICAZ, Vela stated that the report by BDO Zimbabwe made “damning and adverse findings against him” although the process undertaken by the firm was flawed.

“We are instructed to lodge, as we hereby do, a complaint against Messrs Kudenga and Gwatiringa, both of whom are members of ICAZ, for acting unprofessionally and in brazen violation of all known standards binding upon members of the accounting and audit profession,” wrote Vela through his lawyers, Chambati Mataka and Makonese Attorneys at Law.

“The degree of unprofessionalism, mala fides and negligence exhibited in the report is egregious and leaves one wondering if standards within the local accounting scene have been allowed to deteriorate to such pathetic levels. The dubious and callous manner in which conclusions were made was so outrageous in their defiance of logic that no sensible person would have arrived at them.”

Vela said the irregularities occurred because neither Gwatiringa nor any other person involved in the execution of that forensic audit was qualified to conduct an audit of that nature.

“The investigation was not carried out with an open and enquiring mind but exhibits, from the outset, that BDO Zimbabwe was a hired gun on a witchhunt meant to saddle our client with liability at all costs,” Vela stated.

The banker stated that BDO Zimbabwe placed undue emphasis on inculpatory evidence, deliberately ignoring rational explanations he tendered on various issues “and failed to investigate such further information to establish its veracity or lack thereof.”

Gwatiringa and Kudenga’s actions, he said, violated professional ethics.

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