WANKIE Colliery Company Ltd (Wankie) and auditing firm KPMG are engaged in a wrangle over statements made by the mining company in the issuing of a resolution at the company’s annual general
meeting (AGM) last week.
KPMG are reported to be demanding that Wankie retract statements issued in the AGM notice.
In its notice Wankie said “the company had relationship problems with its current auditors”.
The auditing firm said this amounted to defamation.
The statement, it is alleged, was intended to influence its shareholders to vote in favour of a change of auditors.
Shareholders then voted against retaining KPMG as the company’s auditors and instead, opted for Camelsa.
KPMG are reported to have been angered by Wankie’s statement and are now considering taking legal action against the coal mining concern.
Peter Bailey a senior partner at KPMG confirmed that the Wankie statement had been defamatory.
“KPMG’s issue with Wankie is not to do with the change of auditors, but with the defamatory manner in which the resolution to elect new auditors was framed, as well as the extent of publication of the EGM notice containing the same,” Bailey said.
He said the statement issued by Wankie as a listed company on three stock exchanges impacted negatively on the company’s reputation as a renowned auditing firm.
“It must be borne in mind that Wankie is a public company listed on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange, the Johannesburg Securities Exchange and the London Stock Exchange and by law notice of an EGM must be given to every shareholder,” said Bailey.
He said KPMG had given Wankie time to retract its statement and maintained that failure to do so would result in the firm suing.
“We have given the board of Wankie 10 days in which to issue a suitable retraction to their shareholders and the relevant stock exchanges, failing which we will instruct our legal practitioners to institute proceedings for damages for defamation,” Bailey said.
Wankie chairman Munacho Mutezo said the company would not act on the KPMG ultimatum.
He said the company was not prepared to retract statements that KPMG had cited as defamatory, but if the need arose they would seek legal advice from their lawyers.
“We are not going to retract anything as a company but if they have anything to say they will deal with our lawyers,” Mutezo said.