Auditors raise red flag at HCCL

Hwange Colliery Company

HWANGE Colliery Company's auditors, Grant Thornton, have raised a concern about the company's failure to confirm a significant loan of ZW$12,9 billion (US$18,9 million), with the auditors citing that the miner was hiding crucial information.

An audit report for the financial year ended December 31 2022 shows that the company failed to honour requests by auditors to disclose the balance of the United States dollar-denominated loan.

“As disclosed in note 23,2, to these financial statements, included in borrowings is an amount in respect of a long outstanding United States dollars denominated loan. Responses to requests for confirmation of the loan balance were not received,” the report reads in part.

“We were   unable   to confirm   the completeness of the loan balance by alternative means. Consequently, we were unable to determine whether any adjustments to the borrowings were necessary and to determine the effect that this will have on the financial statements.”

In 2014, HCCL  obtained a loan of US$13 million from the Export Import Bank of India (EXIM)  to purchase coal mining equipment.

The loan was guaranteed by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, with interest being charged at London interbank offered rate of + 3,5 % per annum.

“In terms of an arrangement between Export Import bank of India (EXIM) and the Government of Zimbabwe, in February 2019, the Government of Zimbabwe took over the responsibility of settlement of the loan to Export Import bank of India, with the company indebtedness in respect of this USD denominated loan now being to the Government of Zimbabwe,” the report states.

As part of the ongoing restructuring plan, the government, through the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, issued Treasury Bills (TBs) of US$41 million and US$18,216 million in settlement of the Mota Engil and RBZ/PTA Bank loan, respectively.

The government has agreed that its support be treated as a loan payable over 15 years with a 7% interest per annum, according to the auditors.

The auditors added that an additional US$52,3 million worth of TBs were issued towards the scheme of arrangement, bringing the total support from the government to US$111,5 million worth of TBs, as approved by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development.

Zamco, which was disbanded, took over ZW$16,2 million (principal and interest)  outstanding on a BancABC loan on September 1 2015 in a debt restructuring exercise.

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