THE Zambia Institute of Chartered Accountants (ZICA) says it is investigating a case where HoneyBee Pharmacy allegedly falsified its financial statements purported to have been audited by I.Dore company, in order to win a US$17 million medical supply tender under the Ministry of Health.

And ZICA says it is unable to state whether or not it would take action against I.Dore, as it has not yet established that the audit firm was was involved in the alleged audit fraud.

ZICA director for standards and Regulation, Mwelwa Mwaba, told News Diggers prior to the press query that the institution usually carries out its own investigation when it receives such an allegation.

“We are not able to provide specific responses to HoneyBee and I.Dore because what we do is that when we receive such a case, we would carry our own investigations and then we would determine what the position is. If we think there is a genuine case, then we take it to the standard and regulation board who then review the case and then send it to the disciplinary committee. That is the procedure we follow when we find that the audit firm needs to answer for what they have done. But we can’t answer specifically in this case on the question about I.Dore whether we think they did something wrong or not because we need to do an investigation. …ike I have said, we will not give you specific responses in relation to I.Dore and HoneyBee because this matter is still under investigation.” said Mwaba.

And responding to a press query, ZICA chief executive officer Bonna Kashinga said the Institute takes such cases seriously.

“Kindly note that as an Institute we take such matters seriously as we endeavour to ensure that our members follow the disciplinary process in line with the provisions of Part VIII of the Accountants Act No. 13 of 2008 (as amended). Mr Ismael Dore is a registered member of the Institute with membership number I.D F000535. We are unable to comment specifically on the matter relating to I Dore. We would however like to advise that the Institute does take interest in all matters that might involve professional misconduct by its members. We are unable to provide details on this matter regarding investigations,” stated Kashinga.

“The Institute has an annual Continuous Professional Development (CPD) calendar in place that discusses various topics including among other matters ethical conduct. In addition the Institute has a Code of Professional Ethics in addition to the Accountants Act No. 13 of 2008 which all accountants are mandated to comply with. Auditors that are found to be guilty of professional misconduct have their licences withdrawn and names removed from the register of firms in Zambia if the ZICA Disciplinary Committee headed by a State Counsel determines the verdict as such. This goes for the partner of the firm as well as the audit firm. We are unable to comment on what can or cannot happen to I Dore. However, as indicated above, auditors that are found to be guilty of professional misconduct can have their licences withdrawn and names removed from the register of firms in Zambia if the ZICA Disciplinary Committee determines the verdict as such.”

An investigation into the supply of toxic drugs by HoneyBee Pharmacy revealed that the firm actually submitted falsified financial statements to the Ministry of Health in order to win the US$17 million Health Centre Kits tender.

Sources close to the investigation told News Diggers that apart from failing ZAMRA inspection, HoneyBee Pharmacy also submitted fake statements of account to the procurement committee, and the contract was awarded based on false information regarding the firm’s capacity to deliver specified goods in the bid.

According to bid documents seen by News Diggers, HoneyBee submitted financial statements purporting to have been audited by I.Dore, to the effect that the Pharmacy had the financial capacity to execute the procurement of 22,500 Health Centre Kits within a delivery period of eight to 12 weeks.