By Confidente Reporter
THE Chief Executive Officer of Meatco, Advocate Vekuii Rukoro has been implicated in an investigation report done by audit firm Ernst & Young Namibia in which an Omaheke farmer allegedly defrauded the parastatal of nearly N$1 million, Confidente has learnt.
According to the report in Confidente’s possession, Rukoro had recommended the farmer as a potential Meatco agent.
Confidente is informed that the Meatco board had commissioned Ernst & Young to conduct the investigation last year into alleged cattle losses and contracts signed by the parastatal with farmers to purchase cattle on its behalf.
“The farmer was identified and recommended as a potential agent by the CEO. Executive management was tasked to approve and implement the said farmer’s agency. The farmer had experience in animal procurement. No minutes were kept during the meeting suggesting that it was resolved that the farmer could act as agent on behalf of Meatco.
“No formalised procedures were in place at the time with regard to the disbursement of funds to assist (the farmer). His financial needs were communicated directly to the CEO (who) would decide whether or not to approve the payment of funds to (the farmer).
According to the report, 89 invoices and 10 booklets which the farmer (identity known to Confidente) claims to have used when purchasing cattle on behalf of Meatco after the parastatal had transferred N$1 .5 million into his bank account have since gone missing.
“’The farmer’ does not have the skills to administer transactions properly, e.g invoices sometimes lacked detail and there were sometimes non-adherence to the buying of the correct class of cattle. Mr Tjaimba was tasked to assist in this regard. ‘The farmer’ entered into transactions without first obtaining the advice of Mr Tjaimba. ….No further funds were forwarded to ‘the farmer’ as the N$1.5 million could not be reconciled completely to purchases and documentation.
“EY obtained the physical invoices that were captured in respect of the Meatco reconciliation of the total number of cattle purchased by under the agency agreement. The Meatco invoices provide for four ear tag numbers and their associated purchase price to be captured on the invoice template. EY further obtained Meatco invoice booklets, issued to ‘the farmer’ for the record of the purchases of cattle under this agency agreement, on February 26 2016 from Mrs Brown. We understand that the following booklets have not been recovered by Mrs Brown during the Meatco reconciliation of (the farmer’s) cattle. These were required to verify the status of the invoices.”
According to the report as a result of the missing invoice booklets Meatco lost over N$230 000.
“The total number of unrecorded invoices of cattle purchases on the Meatco reconciliation amounts to a value of N$236 717.14. The 103 unique ear tag numbers are understood to represent cattle that are unaccounted for as per Meatco reconciliation. The total loss incurred by Meatco on the unaccounted ear tags/animals is N$710 729.50.”
The investigation also unearthed how Meatco was double charged for the purchase of cattle as well as being double billed for the transactions in some instances.
“Following the assessment of the 939 ear tags listed in respect of animals purchased by ‘the farmer’ under the agency agreement as recorded in the Meatco reconciliation, we identified the following unique ear tag numbers to have been listed twice and paid for under different invoices: Ear tag number 26186411 amount N$7 711.25, invoice 2151 purchase date May 28 2014, tag number 26186411 amount N$8 019.70 invoice 2154, purchase date May 28 2014, ear tag number 13113139, amount N$5 329:22, invoice number 2905, purchase date May 7 2014, ear tag number 13113139 amount N$5 329:22 invoice number 2910 purchase date May 7 2014, ear tag number 21544887 amount N$5822.74 invoice number 1156 purchase date March 11 2014, ear tag number 21544887 amount N$5096.39 invoice number 3057 purchase date March 23 2014.
“The total amount expensed in respect of duplicate animals is N$37 308.52.”
Ernst and Young in the report also mentions how the farmer reportedly refused to talk to them during their investigation.
The Meatco Board had also called for an investigation to establish whether appropriate internal company procedures, delegation of authority framework and due diligence processes were followed by the relevant Meatco personnel in concluding the agreements with the said farmer.
“No completed Meatco Owned Cattle (MOC) contract application form could be provided by Meatco management relating to the contract entered into between Meatco and the farmer. Furthermore, there are no minutes that reflect deliberations and decisions made by the MOC Committee in this regard. No MOC committee approval schedule could be provided by Meatco management regarding the approval of the application submitted by the farmer.
“No credit check documentation or trans union verification could be provided by Meatco management regarding verification of information or approval of the application submitted by the farmer.”
In an emailed response, Tuesday, Meatco through its corporate affairs manager, Rosa Hamukuaja-Thobias said the executive management of the parastatal was yet to see the Ernst & Young report.
“I want to highlight to you from the onset that issues probed here are Reports which are strictly dealt with by the Meatco Board. It is important to highlight to you that the Executive Management of Meatco is yet to see these report. This case is no different from the previously JB Jooste feedlot if you are aware of such a case.
“However while we await the disclosure of the report, with regard to the allegation of Meatco CEO having handpicked agents or in this case Mr (name removed) this definitely is not true. The CEO in his dealings does not come close to picking any service provider of Meatco. This in Meatco is the function of relevant committees within Meatco. It is therefore, prudent that further questions regarding this whole investigation should be directed to the Meatco Board via the Chairperson.”
The board chairperson of Meatco, Martha Namunjebo- Tilahun refused to comment on the matter.
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