ASA Resources says US$4,3 million is missing from its Freda Rebecca Mine, with an audit showing that chief executive Yat Hoi Ning and finance director Yim Kwan had irregularly transferred money to two Hong Kong registered companies.
The two officials have since been removed, the company said in a filing on the London Stock Exchange’s Alternative Investment Market (AIM), where the firm is listed.
The miner said it had replaced the two with chief operating officer Toi Muganyi and Carla Mackay, who take over as CEO and finance director, respectively, in the interim. Batirai Manhando, the Bindura Nickel Corporation managing director, was named as an interim executive director.
On Wednesday, the resource group said of the missing money, US$1,6 million had been traced to two of the group’s companies in Hong Kong but could not ascertain if the money remained in its accounts.
“The Board is satisfied that it has established that the total amount of Asa Resource funds that are unaccounted for is US$4,3 million. Of this amount US$2,7 million relates to the year ended 31st March 2016 and US$1,6 million relates to the year ended 31st March 2017,” the company said in the regulatory filing.
“The sum of US$1,6 million in 2017 has been traced to two Group companies administered from Hong Kong but the Board has yet to confirm whether any part of this sum remains within the two companies. The Board has not relied on these amounts and any recoveries will improve the expected cash position.”
Asa assured shareholders on Wednesday that it still has adequate funding for the normal working capital requirements at Freda Rebecca — where it holds a controlling 85 percent stake — as well as its Bindura Nickel Corporation subsidiary.
Asa’s share price on AIM market dropped 45.78 percent to 1,129 pence on Tuesday’s announcement but recovered to 1,28 pence in Wednesday’s early trades.
Hoi Ning led a boardroom coup that kicked out the funder of Asa Resources forerunner, Mwana Africa, Kalaa Mpinga in 2015 and is the chairman of China International Mining Group Corporation (CIMGC) the major shareholder in Asa with a 16,29 percent stake. Hoi Ning holds 6,2 percent of Asa’s shareholding in his personal capacity.
Hoi Ning, who succeeded Mpinga as Asa executive chairman, assumed the role of CEO in September last year as the company appointed former BNC managing director David Murangari as non-executive chairman.
The board said it would meet with relevant government ministries and authorities in Harare this week, on the matter.
A number of appointments made by Hoi Ning of Chinese managers and department heads are also being reviewed.
Early this month, workers at Freda Rebecca tussled with management over ‘excessive shareholder interference’ and gave notice to go on strike.
The miner confirmed receiving “certain anonymous allegations relating to the
operations at Freda Rebecca Gold Mine” and “certain aspects of the financial management” at the mine.
An April 4 statement by the company initially dismissed the charges offhand, saying the board believed the allegations to be “completely mischievous,” adding it “strongly suspects that certain disgruntled former employees” to be at the root of some of the allegations. – The Source