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Bosso auditors quit amid threats, tensions

by Staff reporter
17 Jun 2023 at 08:06hrs | Views
HIGHLANDERS Football Club is facing a crisis that threatens its reputation and financial stability. Recent events have unfolded, leading to the resignation of the club's auditors, PNA Chartered Accountants, Saturday Chronicle can exclusively reveal.

PNA Chartered Accountants' decision comes in the wake of escalating tensions and disagreements within the club's leadership, with the executive committee and the board engaging in a bitter dispute. The auditors, unwilling to have their professional image tarnished, chose to sever ties with the club rather than compromise their integrity.

Insiders within Highlanders have confirmed the resignation of the auditors and shed light on the circumstances that led to this drastic step. It appears that the auditors became increasingly disillusioned with the work environment, citing strained relations between the executive and the board as a primary concern. In fact, the auditors even revealed that they had been threatened with termination during the audit process, a troubling development that cast doubt on their ability to perform their duties impartially.

Moreover, the auditors suspected a potential conspiracy to manipulate information provided to them during the audit. This discovery further eroded their trust in the club's management. They were also dismayed by the lack of interest in implementing their recommendations, particularly in establishing proper structures within the club. Faced with these challenges, the auditors felt compelled to part ways with Highlanders and urged the club to seek alternative auditors for future financial assessments.

During the presentation of the audited financial statements, the auditors highlighted the delayed completion of the audit, which could have been finalised as early as January. However, the club's treasurer, Busani Mthombeni, had postponed the process, starting it only in October of the previous year. The auditors said commencing the audit earlier would have resolved numerous issues and expedited the reporting process.

Earlier in January, Highlanders had conducted their annual general meeting without presenting the financial report, as a disagreement arose between the club and the auditors regarding the reporting currency. While the club had prepared the financial statements in local currency, the auditors insisted on using foreign currency, considering the majority of Highlanders' transactions were conducted in US dollars. This disagreement further strained the relationship between the auditors and the club.

Throughout the audit, the auditors faced threats of termination due to their insistence on presenting the financial statements in foreign currency. Undeterred, they remained steadfast and resolute, emphasising their commitment to fulfilling their responsibilities and preserving their professional credibility.

Consequently, upon completing the audit, the auditors issued an adverse opinion on Highlanders' financials, effectively conveying their inability to endorse the authenticity of the club's financial statements. This adverse opinion casts a negative light on the institution and raises concerns among stakeholders, including sponsors, who may question the club's financial stability and reliability.

In addition to their adverse opinion, the auditors flagged several issues during the audit process. They discovered transactions that lacked supporting documentation, prompting the club's finance department to retrieve the necessary records. These findings further exacerbated the auditors' concerns and contributed to their adverse opinion.

The auditors expressed the need for Highlanders' accounting department to enhance its capacity and understanding of modern auditing practices. They encouraged the club to establish an independent internal audit team that would oversee the accounts throughout the year, providing an additional layer of checks and balances.

One particular area of concern highlighted by the auditors was the club's inability to properly account for funds raised by supporters' chapters. The auditors discovered that some funds, raised on behalf of Highlanders, were being held by a chapter within the club. Such discrepancies raise questions about the club's financial management and transparency.

Additionally, the auditors noted inconsistencies in the recording of cash collected at the clubhouse and when recorded at Highlanders' offices, despite the close proximity of these establishments on Robert Mugabe Way, a mere four streets apart.

These discrepancies in cash handling added to the auditors' apprehension and underscored the need for improved financial controls within the club. The auditors believed that implementing an internal audit process would help mitigate these issues and ensure greater accuracy and accountability in financial reporting.

With their departure, Highlanders now faces the arduous task of investigating the financials and seeking to obtain a more favourable opinion to restore stakeholders' confidence. This includes sponsors who may view the club as a less secure investment opportunity given the adverse opinion issued by the auditors.

The resignation of the auditors serves as a wake-up call for Highlanders, highlighting the urgent need for improved governance, transparency, and financial management within the club. It is imperative for the executive committee and the board to address their differences and establish a harmonious working relationship that prioritizes the club's long-term success and reputation.

Repeated efforts to get comment from Highlanders were fruitless, with club spokesperson Nozibelo Maphosa saying she was waiting for the chief executive officer Ronald Moyo who in turn said he was yet to get a response from his superiors.

Source - The Chronicle