ICC cash withheld as accounts 'deliberately falsified' June 27, 2007

Speed report slams Zimbabwe Cricket

Cricinfo staff



Malcolm Speed: 'the game in Zimbabwe and, more widely, the rest of the cricket world, will not be well served by Zimbabwe resuming Test cricket at this stage' © Getty Images
A report by the BBC's Mihir Bose claims that Malcolm Speed does not believe Zimbabwe should be allowed to resume playing Test cricket in November, and that there the board's accounts have been "deliberately falsified".

In his BBC blog, Bose writes that he has seen a copy of Speed's confidential report delivered to the ICC board today in which he says: "My personal view, shared by the cricket committee and ICC senior management, is that the game in Zimbabwe and, more widely, the rest of the cricket world, will not be well served by Zimbabwe resuming Test cricket at this stage. It is respectfully suggested that we must find other ways to assist cricketers in Zimbabwe".

Speed's most damning comments concern the controversial forensic audit and raises serious concerns about the governance and financial accountability of Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC). The observations seem to give a strong endorsement of claims made for several years by stakeholders and administrators inside the country.

The main discrepancy concerns payments totalling $640,350 to "three unknown companies" which the board failed to inform the auditors about. There are also queries relating to a deal with a car company worth $972,000. The board is believed to have imported the vehicles and then sold them to obtain extra local currency in direct contravention of the country's strict foreign-exchange regulations. The issue is further clouded because the board advised the forensic auditors that no cars had been imported or sold.

It is clear that the accounts of ZC have been deliberately falsified to mask various illegal transactions from the auditors and the government of Zimbabwe. It may not be possible to rely on the authenticity of its balance sheet

Speed's report, co-signed by Faisal Hasnain, the ICC's chief financial officer, concludes that: "This is a complete about-turn by ZC and there is uncertainty here regarding these pseudo agreements as referred to by ZC. The auditors and ICC have been misled about these transactions.

"It is clear that the accounts of ZC have been deliberately falsified to mask various illegal transactions from the auditors and the government of Zimbabwe. The accounts were incorrect and at no stage did ZC draw the attention of the users of these accounts to the unusual transactions. It may not be possible to rely on the authenticity of its balance sheet."

In conclusion, the report says that there may be serious breaches of the ICC's code of ethics and, as a result, the board has only been paid $2 million of the monies owed from the World Cup.

A former employee of Price Waterhouse Coopers, who audited the board's accounts until 2005, told Cricinfo: "When we signed off the 2004 audit we raised a number of ethical concerns."

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