Thursday, November 17, 2011

My experiences at Mellodramatik Murkathon South Africa. Part 2

A multi-part story of deceit and corruption.

More discoveries

Taccountovic and Da Silva

Shortly after Jester’s departure, his longtime companion Ludmilla, died as a result of advanced cancer, a fact Jester had concealed from everyone, as I believe that he felt if it was known that his urgent need to retire was driven by Ludmilla’s impending death, as she had been advised by her doctors that there was no possibility of survival. Almost simultaneous with Jester’s departure, I was advised by the then accountant, Mr. Taccountovic, that he was retiring to Pietermaritzburg, and would not be able to continue as the company accountant. In order to maintain some kind of continuity, another competent accountant was sought, and a Mr. Da Silva, took over from Taccountovic, who relocated with haste to Pietermaritzburg, leaving improperly documented books for the new accountant to reconcile and take ownership of.  According to Taccountovic, he had left perfect records, and perfect reports, however at the next month end it became apparent that he had used mostly a manual system for keeping the financial records of the company, the files were with him, and when asked for the files to be handed over, he demanded a fee of R10,000.00 for some excel files that after examination were not worth R10.00, any high schoolboy or girl, could with a few hours effort have produced them from scratch.
Jester very kindly offered to assist in the compilation of the month end reports, for a consultants fee, and it here that we learnt that the month end reports had been more or less fictitious for a number of years, as Jester had no understanding of the reporting structure, and how the various aspects of the financial reports integrated with each other. I resolved to dispense with Jester’s and Simonvic’s input and relied on Da Silva being able to satisfactorily liaise with Germany, and to for the first time, produce financial reports that were accurate and reliable, but most important of all, were not the result of data manipulation, to satisfy formulas that were not understood by the previous accountant. Da Silva, was a thoroughly professional, knowledgeable and computer literate person who first suggested that perhaps the old Ohio, command prompt accounting software which had remained without update or maintenance since 1988, should either be upgraded or replaced. This was investigated and options and prices obtained both from Ohio software, and from Softline Pastel, with Pastel being by far the most cost effective package, a windows update for Ohio, would have cost R80,000.00 for the software, and in the region of R50,00.00 for the data migration and integration. All of which would have been billed by Ohio at premium rates.

The Clowns

When this development became known in the company, there was extremely strong resistance to this change by the Clowns, who were adamant that they would not use the new system, and proceeded to willfully sabotage the process, to ensure that it failed to vindicate their opinions regarding the new system. To overcome the resistance, and outside consultant was contracted to provide training and insight into the functionality of the system, so that the Clowns could realize the value of the new software and become more familiar with it, and in so doing come to accept it as a fully functional useful tool in their daily work lives.
The sabotage continued, but with a new twist, Losly Clown started to short invoice parts, and in so doing cost the company some losses on spare parts sales. This was brought to his attention, and he was notified that he was to be disciplined for actions. The amounts involved would, had he been found guilty at an enquiry, have been recovered from him, so before the enquiry could proceed, Losly Clown abandoned the company, without notice, no doubt to escape the consequences of his actions. I quickly established that Lois Clown had gone to work for a competitor on the day following his desertion from the company, this was the company SST, started by the two technicians who had left the company, due to their involvement in theft of parts and hours. The rapidity of his engagement at that time suggested that he had made prearrangements to join the competitor in any event, and his incompetent behavior was some kind of vindictive behavior prior to his departure.
Tweela Clown, continued to be more openly obstructive, to the degree that she was informed of a pending hearing for insubordination, which she indicated, she was more than ready for, and that she would be turning the tables so to speak on me at this hearing. But during the course of preparing for the hearing, it was determined that Tweela was past the age of mandatory retirement, and had continued in employment only due to this fact not being made known to the company. She was served with a notification of retirement, and given thirty days pay, and sent on retirement. She however attempted to challenge her retirement at the CCMA, without any success. As her retirement was completely within the framework laid down by the labor laws of South Africa.
She did after the rejection of the motion by the CCMA; compose a letter to the company’s head office alleging financial irregularities and theft on my part. Subsequent audits proved these claims to be nothing other than attempts to tarnish my reputation and discredit me to the organization. I believe that Tweela managed to create a perception that I may have been an unsuitable and overly aggressive person, to manage the company, with our parent company, to whom she had aired her alleged grievances.

Tweela’s departure, however forced, offered an opportunity to train a debtors and creditors clerk from within the company, who was willing and able to learn the new Pastel system and add value to the company. This person was Beth Unfoggy who previously had been bullied by Tweela into doing most of Tweela’s work, while receiving none of the credit for it. Beth was offered the opportunity to take over Tweela’s old job, and she was quick to demonstrate after acceptance that she a person with a significantly higher aptitude for the bookkeeping tasks, than Tweela ever was.
Losly Clowns departure, likewise offered an opportunity, to take control of the stores, and to implement a logical system of stock control, using Pastel as the driver for total transparency and accountability of the maintenance of stock, and of the assurance of profit margins on spare parts sales, and service invoicing, two areas which had been covertly sabotaged by the Clowns. The person selected from within the company to do this was Gandalf Woodsman. Gandalf had previously experienced some difficulties with his duties as field service technician, but he had a reasonable knowledge of the products and of the parts which went into the products as spares. He was provided with extensive training to detect and bring to the attention of management any errors that arose as a result of Losly's negligent and malicious actions.

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