By Tendai Guvamombe

Failing to publish a detailed Register of Public Accountants and Auditors, registering of firms with deceased persons, Non-resident partners and taking of bribes are some of the allegations facing the Public Accountants and Auditors Board. The Spotlight Global News reports

According to the best Corporate Governance Practices and the PAAB ACT 27.12 of 1999,2001 and 2015, the Board is mandated without fail to avail a detailed register indicating Firms, Tax Accountants, Public Accountants and Public Auditors within the respective firms to anyone upon the payment of an inspection fee.

The recent developments have seen PAAB dismally failing to uphold its mandate in accordance with Section 20 of the Public Accountants and Public Auditors (PAAB) ACT which states that; “Any person may inspect a register and make copies of any entries there in at all reasonable times on payment of such fee as may be prescribed provided that no such fee shall be payable by a police officer or a member of the civil service acting in the course of his or her duty as such or any other person whom the secretary of the Board has authorized to inspect the register in question.

Information appearing on PAAB Official Online Portal only shows the firms without the number of partners and excludes clarity on the number and qualification either as a Public Auditor, Public Accountant and Public Tax Accountant within the respective categories of firms.

The Board recently failed to avail the register to a businessman by the name Jaison Chirapuse who engaged PAAB Office through various emails. This publication is in position of the emails sent to PAAB by Chirapuse who received a zero feedback.

The corresponding details indicate that he was requesting for a detailed register of Firms in accordance with the PAAB ACT and was enquiring on the pertinent issues.

“Dear Donald

May you kindly share the register of firms indicating the number and names of public auditors in each respective firm and their residence status.

Please share the invoice indicating the account details so that I can immediately deposit the prescribed Register Inspection Fee if there is any.

As a general enquiry,

1. Can one become a partner in a Zimbabwean firm when he is full time employed somewhere

2. Can one become a partner when he is not ordinarily a resident in Zimbabwe , if one can become a partner whilst not an ordinary resident in Zimbabwe , what is PAAB’s policy position to ensure that quality is not compromised by firms with partners who are not ordinarily residents in Zimbabwe.

3.If one can not be a partner of a firm when not ordinarily a resident in Zimbabwe and is full time employed elsewhere what is the PAAB’s policy on ensuring that as business we are not prejudiced by firms who want to appear big and having more capacity.

4. What is PAAB’s criteria and or policy of distinguishing firms into small , Medium and Large Firms.

Your prompt response will be greatly appreciated

Kind Regards

Jaison Chirapuse

Managing Director Jaja Engineering Pvt Limited

An independent survey conducted by Spotlight Global News indicate that more than 75 percent of Audit Firms particularly those registered in the last five (5) years are operating with non-resident partners or partners fully employed somewhere . The same survey also revealed that seven (7%) percent are operating with names of the deceased partners.

Contacted for comment, a partner with a local Audit Firm who refused to be named for fear of victimization by the regulator, said the malpractice culture at PAAB has been going on for a number of years.

“The high levels of corruption at PAAB has been going on for years. Firms who would want to secure tenders particularly from the Auditor General’s office and Big Private Corporates on the strength of non-existing or fictitious capacity are paying handsomely to the PAAB Secretariat. It has been the norm of the day during the tenure of all the Boards including the recently appointed one. I would like to believe that the secretariat has through corrupt means captured the Boards.”

He added that, if the current modus operandi at PAAB remain unchecked, it will risk the country of losing reputable firms with real partners on the ground such as Deloitte and others in the big four (4).

“I am seeing all efforts made by the Government on terming Corruption and promoting Fair and Ethical Business practices being wasted as real firms with real people on the ground remain uncompetitive to these fictitious firms with real costs to meet. Already Deloitte has exited the Zimbabwean market which will inevitably force the remaining three (3) giants of the big four (KPMG, EY and PWC) to follow suite, a predicament that will label the country as an unsafe business environment for Foreign Investors”

This publication made efforts to get a consolidated response from PAAB to no avail. A phone call interview with PAAB Assistant to the Secretary, Mr Donald Mangenje said all issues pertaining to the media are only handled by the Secretary.

“It is unfortunate that I cannot comment, the only person authorized to engage the media is the PAAB Secretary Mr Admire Ndurunduru. Try to reach him for assistance.”

The publication went on to get in touch with the Secretary Mr Admire Ndurunduru on Tuesday the 5th of March 2024 around 6PM, who declined to comment on the basis that it was after business hours and encouraged to engage him in the following day during business hours.

However, several attempts to get in touch with PAAB Secretary in the following day were shattered in vain as his phone went unanswered.

This prompted this publication to get intouch with the recently appointed PAAB Board Chairperson Valentine Mushakarara who also declined to comment by directing all interview questions to the Secretary.

Another attempt to reach out to PAAB via landline, a personnel by the name Tanaka Zhangazha directed the call to Mr Donald Magenje who could not locate the Secretary.

“I remember you calling me sometime last week, it is unfortunate that the Secretary is not around, when he comes I will let him know that you looking for him,” he said.