Mteto Nyati. Picture: SOWETAN
Mteto Nyati. Picture: SOWETAN

JSE-listed technology firm Altron said on Friday that it had suspended executives at one of its subsidiaries over allegations of irregularities. 

Three senior executives of Altron Nexus have been placed on precautionary suspension following an investigation that has revealed potential internal irregularities.

The investigation came after the group received information from whistle-blowers in June 2018 and June 2019 over alleged procurement irregularities. 

According to Altron, preliminary findings have revealed potential deviation from procurement processes, involving an estimated R23m, and early profit recognition of about R20m in the 2018 financial year.

“We are following due process and the three executives may go through a disciplinary hearing, overseen by an independent chair. While the investigation is ongoing, we would like to assure our customers, partners and employees that plans have been put in place to ensure business continuity at Altron Nexus,” Altron Group CEO Mteto Nyati said in a statement.

Altron said that after receiving information from a whistle-blower in June 2018, it appointed independent investigators to look into alleged procurement irregularities among a few senior executives within Altron NexusThe investigation found no evidence of irregularities but made recommendations on procurement process improvements and reporting obligations, which were implemented, the company said.

Altron initiated another investigation after receiving a second tip-off in June on similar allegations. The investigation was conducted by forensic services company, Naledi Advisory Services.

“We view these allegations in a serious light. Accordingly, this investigation is in line with our zero-tolerance to unethical conduct, despite the amounts not being material to Altron’s financial position,” said Nyati.

Altron jfinds itself in a similar position to troubled technology company EOH, which is conducting investigations into governance issues. An investigation by law firm ENSAfrica into alleged irregularities at EOH related to government tenders uncovered “suspicious transactions” worth R1.2bn.

Among other things, ENSafrica found tender irregularities and “other unethical business practices”, including bribery and theft, mainly within the public-sector business operated by EOH Mthombo, implicating a small group of employees.

gavazam@businesslive.co.za