KPMG probe absolves Letshego boss

Low
Low

Letshego Group managing director, Christopher Low has been absolved of allegations of maladministration that were levelled against him through an anonymous email earlier this year.

The damning email, purportedly from concerned staff members, was circulated among the microlender’s board members and media houses.

Audit firm, KPMG Chartered Accountants Botswana, dismissed the allegations as unfounded following an investigation that looked into potential maladministration against the MD, bordering on issues of manipulation of financial accounts and lack of corporate governance.

In an announcement posted on the Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE) yesterday, the group’s board chairman Jonathan Burbidge revealed that the board undertook to conduct an independent investigation of matters raised in the email through an oversight Special Board Committee, which commissioned KPMG to investigate and report on the allegations.


“This investigation was based on information provided by the company and scope agreed with the Special Board Committee,” stated Burbidge.

The board chairman also indicated that based on the report from KPMG, the board concluded that all the allegations are unfounded and are without merit.

He emphasised that the board has full confidence in its group managing director and his team, and their ability to execute on the agreed strategic journey.

The allegations were that the MD intentionally manipulating financial figures for the latest full year results and hiding information from the board of directors about loss making entities in some of the group’s African operations.

In the email, Low was accused of awarding P3.6 million of Letshego’s corporate social responsibility budget to a company called Primary Care Education International, which is associated with his wife.

“Currently, there are several unjustified payments from Letshego to companies and consultants based in Britain and other countries that have no contract or that nobody knows what they are doing.  Over 50,000 pounds is being siphoned out of the company on a monthly basis to these companies or individuals. We suspect these are business associates that are being used to defraud the company,” reads the email.

Meanwhile, Burbidge affirmed that the company supports the principles of ‘whistle blowing’ and that a number of internal channels are available to staff including an ‘ethics hotline’ that is independently operated by a firm of consultants for use by any member of staff or stakeholder if they wish to raise concerns anonymously.

It has been disclosed by the board that as part of the Special Board Committee’s mandate, the sender of the email was invited to meet and discuss their concerns with the committee. However, the sender neither responded to the invitation nor availed themselves at the proposed venue of the meeting. “As such, Letshego has not been able to present its position and/or defend itself to address any concerns that members of staff may have about the company and its management,” said the group board chairman.

Burbidge also expressed concern at the individual who has adopted a public approach to raising his/her concerns, noting that the group will remain open to engaging with the concerned party through its internal channel.

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