Govt hires KPMG to audit Air Zim

GOVERNMENT has hired KPMG to audit Air Zimbabwe amid allegations that the airline was prejudiced of about US$2,5 million.

The audit started on Tuesday, three years after the last financial accounts inspection.
This is taking place at a time when some of the airline’s board members are reportedly pushing for ouster of chief executive officer Peter Chikumba.
Chikumba this week declined to comment on the goings on at the airline and referred questions to board chair Jonathan Kadzura.
Kadzura confirmed to businessdigest on Wednesday that KPMG was auditing the airline and that management could not account for US$2,4 million.
The audit, sources said, was ordered by the comptroller and auditor-general’s office after questions were raised on how the airline procures spares, fuel and services planes, funds salaries, and manages its borrowings and mounting debt currently at US$50 million. Questions were also raised on the airline’s labour dispute with about 400 workers it intended to retrench. 
The sources said the audit was also meant to ensure that Air Zimbabwe come up to date with statutory requirements.
Chikumba, the sources said, was being accused by some board members of mismanagement and they were pushing for his ouster. The sources said the board members wanted former acting CEO Oscar Madombwe to bounce back in a substantive capacity.
Kadzura declined to comment on the moves to fire Chikumba.
“If I comment on everything that is said about Air Zimbabwe every week, surely we will lose our focus and objective of reviving the national airlines,” Kadzura said.
Chikumba was last week re-elected chairman of the Airline Association of Southern Africa at its AGM in Swaziland.
Insiders said while the national airline has been beset by viability problems for the past 10 years due to inadequate foreign currency, the introduction of multicurrency payment system increased the rate at which accounts where failing to balance.
They also claimed that another pilots’ strike was looming. Pilots went on strike last month demanding payment of their allowances. The airline managed to pay 50% of what it owed them.
Aviation sources said the airline was struggling because it embarked on cost-cutting measures which have seen Air Zimbabwe pulling out of several lucrative routes such as Harare-DRC, Harare-Dar-es-Salaam, Harare-Lilongwe and Harare-Nairobi.
They believe such cost-cutting measures should have been complemented by other strategies to salvage and maintain the market share.
Market analysts said the airline had lost out on potential investors or meaningful investment due to their failure to produce up to date audited financial accounts.
Air Zimbabwe and other parastatals in the country are facing serious challenges related to public accountability as a result of poor business culture, which has been compounded by the economic challenges the country had faced over the past decade.
An official from Air Zimbabwe told businessdigest this week that: “Greed, egoism and the need to make quick money is still very rampant at Air Zimbabwe. This compromises service delivery, hence accountability if people have to assess whether there is anything to benefit them personally before they perform some of their duties. Accountability suffers because of leakages and mediocre service delivery.”
Air Zimbabwe’s attempts to go regional in partnerships with Air Malawi, Air Mauritius, Zambia, Tanzania and Kenya have come to naught.
It is also alleged that these partnerships have been aborted on claims that some of the airlines were not performing although it was realised later that more foreign currency earnings could have been earned from such partnerships.

 

Paul Nyakazeya

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