Tongaat scandal costs ex interim chief his (other) job

Former Tongaat Hulett interim chief executive officer Sydney Mtsambiwa has stepped down as chair of a Zimbabwe Stock Exchange-listed bank, following his implication in the Tongaat Hulett forensic audit conducted by PwC.

Mtsambiwa, who was managing director of Tongaat’s Zimbabwe operations, was appointed interim CEO in August 2018 ahead of the retirement of former CEO Peter Staude.

His leadership was, however, short-lived. He stepped down in March this year as the company grappled with an accounting scandal that saw it suspend trading on the JSE and conduct a forensic probe.

Mtsambiwa was named in the PwC report as one of the executives who initiated or participated in undesirable accounting practices that resulted, among other things, in revenue being recognised in earlier reporting periods than it should have been, and in expenses being inappropriately capitalised to assets.

This resulted in profits in the respective years being overstated, and in the overstatement of certain assets in THL's financial statements.

Following the report, Tongaat said its board intended to pursue claims against "certain individuals" who appeared to have been responsible for, or party to, the undesirable activities outlined in the PwC Report, including Mtsambiwa.

These allegations have now cost Mtsambiwa his position as chair of ZSE-listed First Capital Bank (FCB), formerly Barclays Bank in Zimbabwe.

In a statement Thursday, FCB said Mtsambiwa had "relinquished his position as Director and Chairman of the Bank, to enable him to address the issues arising from the PWC report on Tongaat Hullett".

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