HWANGE Colliery Company (HCC)’s recent official inauguration of Camelsa as its accounting firm has further soured relations between the western Zimbabwe coal miner
and its former auditors KPMG of Harare, with the latter taking legal steps to settle the matter.
While HCC spokesman John Nkala confirmed Camelsa’s appointment, KPMG’s Tererai Matavire told businessdigest this week that she had instructed her lawyers to look into the matter.
“We cannot comment as the legal representatives of the two organisations are handling the issue,” the senior KPMG partner said.
Nkala, on the other hand, said HCC was aware of the legal course, but failure to amicably solve the dispute had forced them into the current arrangement.
“We tried talking to them, but they seem not interested,” said Nkala.
HCC, reportedly losing 10 to 11% shareholder Garmony Investments in recent weeks, said it looked forward to creating “long-term relationships with our auditors”, although they had to be re-elected annually, Nkala said.
Controversial Dutch national Nicholas van Hoogstraten, revealing close links with President Robert Mugabe in the international press and supporting Zimbabwe’s land drives because of his vast land holdings, has been linked to the Garmony stake takeover. He already owns stakes in the erstwhile profitable company, also part owned by other foreigners.
KPMG, the company’s auditors for more than a decade, recently threatened to sue HCC over differences relating to a statement deemed to have influenced the coal miner’s shareholders to vote against retaining it at the most recent HCC annual meeting.
Peter Bailey leads the Harare accounting house.
Meanwhile, the vast coal operator (formerly Wankie) was meant to make its debut as Hwange on the London and Zimbabwean stock exchanges on 29 November.
“We have received approval from both the stock exchanges (where the company is listed),” Nkala said.