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Highlanders' books open to manipulation

by Staff reporter
22 Apr 2023 at 18:59hrs | Views
HIGHLANDERS Football Club is battling the flames that are threatening the stability of the club after auditors flagged some discrepancies in the club's books.

According to a report sent to management by the auditors, the financial system used by the club is flawed and open to manipulation, and some transactions were not supported by receipts.

This report has raised serious concerns about the authenticity of the financial statements presented by the club, and auditors have issued an adverse opinion.

The adverse opinion from auditors suggests that the financial statements presented by Highlanders do not accurately reflect the club's financial position, results of operations, and changes in financial position in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles.

The report also revealed a severe deficiency in quality control or professional standards in the individual or firm being reviewed.

Highlanders' auditors raised many queries, including failure to produce camping receipts, missing fuel voucher receipts, and discrepancies in bonus payments.

Despite the red flags, the club's treasurer, Busani Mthombeni, was able to address some of the auditors' queries by providing receipts that had previously been missing from the files.

Nozibelo Maphosa, the Highlanders communications and marketing officer said Highlanders was still working on the club's books with auditors.

"We are still in the process with our auditors and significant progress has been made and we confident that the process is nearing completion.

All the necessary and required documentation has been provided in line with our audit requirements and requests from the auditors.

"The club set audit timelines with the auditors and was well prepared for the audit, and we continue to work with them as such.

We have had to be meticulous in our approach considering that it is the first time the club is presenting financials in US$.

While cognisant of this set targets, there are processes that we have to adhere to in this regard.

"The resolution from the AGM is to have a meeting which will receive the financial report. Matters of the report to management are audit findings from our operations.

We have satisfied the auditors with requisite responses to all the issues raised," she said.

However, it has been reported that the missing documents were handed over to the auditors only after the publication of a news story by the Saturday Chronicle titled "Bad news! Auditors uncover Highlanders' fraudulent accounts, illicit dealings."

This has raised doubts about the audit process, as some documents that were previously missing suddenly became available after the auditors raised questions.

An anonymous source from the club said, "What cannot be ignored is that there is a problem with the club's filing which raises stink.

However, the club conveniently managed to point the auditors to the receipts, some of which were in the emails and some that were in the files but had not been attached to the said requisitions."

In addition to the missing receipts, the auditors have also raised concerns about group fundraising on behalf of the club. They suspect that some of the funds sourced by these groups might not be submitted to the club. This has added to the overall concerns raised by the auditors.

When asked about the possibility of auditors changing their adverse opinion, a response from a club official was, "The operational queries have been addressed, but it's not certain that the opinion will change."

Highlanders Football Club has also missed its deadlines for producing audited financial statements.

The club failed to produce audited financial statements at their January 29 annual general meeting, promising that their external auditors needed between three to four weeks to wrap up the process.

The club then missed the March deadline agreed upon at a joint executive and board meeting held in February.

Presentations will now be held in May.

When contacted for comment, Mthombeni declined to comment until the official audit report has been concluded.

The financial irregularities at Highlanders Football Club are worrying and need to be addressed urgently to ensure that the club's financial position is accurately reflected in their financial statements.

Source - The Chronicle
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