Above board in the west

23 Feb, 2006 01:03 PM

CO-OPERATIVE Bulk Handling (CBH) management has told Farm Weekly that its corporate governance structures are comprehensive enough to withstand corruption.

CBH chief executive officer Imre Mencshelyi said he could categorically say CBH had not been and was not in contravention of any UN trade sanctions.

"Our risk management processes go right through the executive and the board and they are subject to our best practice processes, so everyone is subject to a filter," Mr Mencshelyi said.

"And there is no incentives program for accumulators on a volume basis, but like most commercial organisations we recognise effort.

"We operate internationally, so often what is custom abroad is not regarded as custom or as acceptable here, and we are very aware of the risks the business can pose.

"That is why our risk management and governance procedures are subject to regular and annual reviews."

Mr Mencshelyi rejected claims CBH had lodged its wheat export licence application to take advantage of the unfortunate AWB situation.

"We lodged our application six weeks before the Unite Nations' Volcker report came out so it is wrong to suggest we used Volcker as leverage," he said.

"The current situation demonstrates the clear need for reform in the single desk system.

"The Wheat Export Authority should be totally independent and made up of growers because the current arrangements have created a climate of no confidence in AWBI."

Mr Mencshelyi said international wheat customers had told CBH they were concerned about Australian wheat supply security with AWB under inquiry.

He said international wheat customers were closely monitoring the AWB oil-for-food commission proceedings.

"There are no real concerns from CBH customers as most are very long-term clients and are buying grains other than wheat," Mr Mencshelyi said.

"But there will certainly be ramifications for the local wheat industry once the Cole commission is over."

Mr Mencshelyi would not comment on whether AWB's troubles opened any doors for the WA grain handler.


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