Friday, January 18, 2013

Coffee board, CEO, still at loggerheads


A united Coffee Industry Corporation board of directors yesterday brushed aside Agriculture Minister Tommy Tomscoll’s dismissal of their recommendation to suspend chief executive officer Navi Anis as “biased, misleading and unsatisfactory”.
Anis, however, told The National from Goroka last night that he had nothing to hide and there was “no shred of evidence” whatsoever about mismanagement, misuse of public funds, and official corruption under his management.
Anis…in the hot seat

Tomscoll, in an eight-page response to the board, directed that he would not entertain its recommendations to suspend Anis because of lack of hard evidence.
His response was published in media, irking the board.
Board chairman Patrick Komba, in a statement surprisingly sent from the office of CIC general manager – industry operations Chris Gimbol, said the decision to recommend Anis was made in November 2012 after serious allegations of mismanagement, misuse of public funds, and counts of official corruption including non-performance.
“We, the board, asked Mr Navi Anis to show cause on some serious allegations involving millions of kina, which he did unofficially, but the board unanimously moved that the explanation from the CEO was no satisfactory, warranting investigations, and therefore we recommended for suspension for external investigations to take place,” he said.
Komba claimed Tomscoll was misled by Anis, and instead of talking with the board, the minister had used the same internal report by Anis verbatim.
“It is almost word-for-word,” he said.
“The contents of the minister’s response are the same as the content we received from Mr Navi Anis in his show-cause submission.
“We are surprised the minister chooses not to have anything to do with the board, as stipulated under various legislations, and allows himself to be misled by one person who is alleged of mismanagement, abuse of public funds, and counts of official corruption.”
Koma said as far as the board was concerned, its decision of November 23, 2012, recommending the suspension of Anis still stood and he was not cleared as stated in the media by Tomscoll.
Navis said all correspondence from the board to him and vice-versa had been given to Tomscoll to make a decision.
“I don’t know if some of these board members read the board papers we prepare for them or they just come to meetings to collect their allowance,” he said.
“In terms of financial accountability, our accounts are fully audited by the Auditor General’s Office.
“Auditors have not found any instance of financial mismanagement or misappropriation.
“There is no shred of evidence about financial mismanagement, and I deny the allegations by the board outright.”

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