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ICAZ in trouble over debt

Jesilyn Dendere

THE Institute of Chartered Accountants of Zimbabwe (ICAZ) is embroiled in a legal battle with the president of South African Institute of Corporate Fraud

, Bart Henderson, over unpaid fees for workshops that the institute conducted four years ago.

Henderson was hired by ICAZ to organise the workshop and lecture. At the height of the banking crisis (2003) in Zimbabwe, ICAZ hired Henderson an experienced and qualified forensic auditor to give a series of lectures on fraud and forensic auditing. He was supposed to be paid R170 000 for his work.

The lectures were conducted between December 2003 and December 2004 with more than 200 participants taking part.

According to the agreement Henderson was supposed to be paid 50% of his fees in foreign currency with the remainder going to two charity organisations — Matthew Rusike Children’s home and Alpha Cottages Masvingo Province.

“My lectures were so successful that this accountancy body earned the equivalent at the time of R1,2 million in 14 days. That is what this dispute is about. The Institute of Chartered Accountants books will show that I am personally responsible for a significant contribution to their growth,” Henderson said. Henderson said he has failed to get his money for the past three years. ICAZ has failed to account for the money in its audited accounts for four years, Henderson said.

“Due to the obvious fact that after a period of four years, an issue which with cooperation from the parties concerned could take up to an hour to conclude ICAZ has put out materially incorrect financial statements that omit both actual and contingent liabilities for the period under review.”

“ICAZ was to pay me R170 000 to help them earn R1,2 million in fourteen days. That is uncontested.” According to an agreement signed between the two parties, Henderson was supposed to be paid 50% of his fees in South African Rands with the balance donated to charity in Zimbabwe.

Henderson said because the country was facing an acute shortage of foreign currency he agreed with ICAZ to invest the money in a trust account.

He said the money has since disappeared without trace. The matter which is likely to spill over into the courts has tainted the institute’s reputation.

Henderson has since hired Dube, Hwacha and Manikai legal practitioners to recover the money.

ICAZ, in a letter dated October 27, 2007, refuted the allegations and challenged Henderson to provide documentary evidence that he was in Zimbabwe to conduct the lectures.

This is despite the evidence that Henderson has shown to ICAZ which include letters from the institute and an invoice that he submitted for payment.

ICAZ has refused to show Henderson audited results for the past three years.

ICAZ has also refused Henderson’s claims that the payment was meant to be in foreign currency.

“The Institute has Zimbabwe dollars that were mobilised from the seminar’s participants and 50% of these proceeds were supposed to have been paid to you. There were Zimbabwe dollars and not South African Rands,” said ICAZ in a letter to Henderson.

“It is on record that you refused to accept the Zimbabwe dollars in 2006 when the agreement that you entered is clearly for Zimbabwe dollars and it is Zimbabwe dollars that were supposed to be invested on your behalf not South African Rands.” “For you to claim that you have not been receiving response for four years is clearly trying to mislead. It is not possible to invest South African Rands in Zimbabwe at Zimbabwe interest rates just as it is impossible to do the same in South Africa.”

Henderson shot back: “There is a tone which increasingly suggests the integrity of high office at ICAZ is being subjugated to the character and whims of high office bearers.”

“It is my express view and informed opinion that ICAZ has at executive level shown a steady decline in financial integrity and corporate morality which as a consequence has slid into criminal negligence, oversight, omission, improper revenue recognition and financial misstatement.”

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