Former Tongaat CFO fined E6m, barred for 10yrs from boards

Former Tongaat Hullet Chief Finance Officer Murray Munro

By Khulile Thwala

Former Tongaat Hullet Chief Finance Officer Murray Munro is still experiencing repercussions for fraud that took place under his watch which brought the company to its knees, an investigation by the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) has found.

The JSE recently released a statement on this matter. The stock market found that Munro’s actions and failure to comply with important provisions of the listings requirements contributed to the publication and “dissemination of material misstatements to Tongaat’s consolidated financial statements for the periods 2011 to 2018”.

The JSE then slapped Munro with a E6 million fine and banned him from being a director of a listed company for 10 years. In one of South Africa’s biggest scandals, Tongaat in June 2019 asked the JSE to suspend trade in its shares after an investigation flagged accounting practices that meant its financial statements could not be relied on.

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The JSE has stated that the accuracy and reliability of financial information published by companies were the cornerstone cornerstones of a fair and transparent market.

“The material prior-period errors took place under the supervision of Mr Munro and, as the CFO at the time, Mr Munro was obliged to take the necessary actions to ensure that Tongaat’s financial information was, in all aspects, correct and that it represents a fair and accurate exposition of the company’s financial information,” the JSE said in the statement.

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The bourse further stated that on April 18, 2023, the deputy chairperson of the Financial Services Tribunal, retired judge Judge Harms, dismissed the suspension application, other than agreeing to suspend the payment of the fine that the JSE has imposed on Mr Munro.

“In the circumstances, the JSE is entitled to publish this censure and to disqualify Mr Munro from holding the office of a director or officer of a listed company for a period of 10 years.”

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