LEGAL ACTION UNDERWAY

The Office of the Registrar of Co-operatives and Business Development Services (ORCBDS) has revealed that various legal actions involving former Director of the APMA Financial Investment Centre/Cooperative (AFIC) Director, Barnabas Tabi, are underway.

“During our review and audit covering activities starting in AFIC from late 2016 through to December 2017, further serious irregularities have been uncovered involving the activities of the former Director, Mr. Barnabas Tabirupmel, more commonly known as Banabas Tabi,” the ORCBDS stated.

“Our findings focused on, but in many cases are in addition to matters raised in the 2016 ORCBDS audit and the RBV 2017 audit. We can advise at this time that various legal actions are underway involving this person and further that a number of the irregularities uncovered have been reported to the appropriate authorities.”

Based on the advice of their legal counsel, they are unable to expand or comment on the specifics involved at this point in time.

Efforts to organize and conduct an intensive audit of AFIC head office and main branch both located in Port Vila, is now completed.

This audit was conducted by a Special Audit Work Group composed of senior examiners from the ORCBDS, and the Reserve Bank of Vanuatu (RBV), together with an international co-operative development consultant experienced in conducting similar reviews.

“To ensure the audit was conducted independently, we also invited a private audit firm to work with us to review our audit, its method and standards, and to confirm findings,” ORCBDS stated.

“That review has been completed and there is full concurrence with our finding. While the major phase of the audit work is completed we are also now collecting financial data, as loans and other member data and files from all the primary branches, in order to have an accurate picture of AFIC’s overall financial condition. This has been a major undertaking because of the number of branches involved.

“Collecting financial records is now expected be completed sometime towards the end of April.”

In the meantime, a high level Special AFIC Oversight Task Force has been convened with two primary tasks. First, to review in detail the work done and the findings of the Special Audit Work Group, including the report of the private audit firm, and second to help determine the most appropriate approach to be taken for going forward. The group will be meeting regularly as work progresses.

Further updates as well as AFIC member information meetings are being planned for end of April, or early May. Member information meetings are being planned for a limited number of locations throughout the country.

The ORCBDS assures that meetings notices, including locations will be widely disseminated. Members of the AFIC cooperative are encouraged to watch for other updates and notices as may be posted via public media prior to such meetings.

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