Independent accountant and auditor, Alexander Kalanda has testified against Illovo Sugar Malawi (ISM) in a case the country’s sole sugar producer is accused of fraudulent financial transactions.
Illovo Sugar is being accused by its minority shareholder Prudential Holdings Ltd (PHL) of presenting doctored financial statements to mask huge payments made to its parent company
Prudential Holdings Ltd, a minority shareholder in Illovo Sugar Malawi, on Monday paraded its third and last witness in a civil case against the premier sugar company.
PHL, is disputing a litany of payments ISM made to Illovo Sugar South Africa and also to its UK based parent company Associated British Foods (ABF).
The trial was back in the Commercial Court in Blantyre on Monday and Tuesday with Kalanda testifying against ISM which is listed on the Malawi Stock Exchange.
In his cross-examination, ISM Senior Counsel Shabir Latif, quizzed Kalanda on why he failed to approach the company for information before making his in conclusions in a an audit report on behalf of PHL.
Kalanda was hired by PHL to review the ISM’s 2015 financial statement and gave his opinion faulting the accounts.
Asked by Latif why he was engaged by PHL to act as auditor of ISM, Kalanda argued that he was asked by his client to “review” the disputed audit, saying a review and an audit were the same terminologies.
Latif wondered why Kalanda did not use internationally accepted auditing routines to access accounting records, documents and estimates from ISM management in order to make his conclusions.
But the defiant Kalanda said it was “not necessary” as he used other forms of evidence provided by PHL to base his opinion.
He said it was not necessary to approach ISM directly as required by international audit standards because he had “enough evidence” from PHL.
The case is being presided over by Justice John Katsala who has since adjourned proceedings to May 21 and 22 this year.
Some of the witnesses PHL has so far paraded included Ramesh Savjani, chairman of PHL, and Gordon Tembo, senior partner at international auditing firm KPMG.
ISM, part of a grouping of Africa’s biggest sugar company operating in six countries, is yet to parade its witnesses to defend itself.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :