SA auditors body nears completion of investigation into KPMG scandal


JOHANNESBURG, January 12 – The Independent Regulatory Board for Auditors (IRBA) said on Friday that one of the lines of investigation into embattled audit firm KPMG was nearing completion and would be tabled at the upcoming investigating committee, while others are progressing satisfactorily.

The IRBA is investigating KPMG after it in September last year withdrew its reports on the work it did for the South African Revenue Services (Sars) to investigate allegations of a rogue unit allegedly set up by former Sars commissioner Pravin Gordhan, and also for the work it did on behalf of the controversial Gupta family.

IRBA chief executive Bernard Agulhas said in a statement that the investigation into KPMG was multi-faceted and has extended into a number of lines of investigation, beyond the initial investigation into the audits of the Sars Report and Linkway Trading, the company at the centre of the R30 million Gupta wedding scandal where public funds were allegedly diverted for a private wedding at Sun City.

An internal KPMG investigation found that work done for the Gupta family fell “considerably short” of accepted standards, leading to the company senior leadership in South Africa stepping down.

The IRBA is set to reporting back to Parliament on the progress of its investigations.

“In two matters, information which was requested from KPMG remains outstanding and the IRBA continues to engage with KPMG to obtain the information necessary to complete these investigations,” Agulhas said.

“With respect to the Sars matter, the IRBA engaged with the Sars Commissioner and most of the information has been received subsequently. The IRBA is confident that the additional information will be supplied in due course.”

Agulhas said that this was consistent with the IRBA’s powers under its Act to request any information necessary to perform its investigations.

Agulhas added that the IRBA investigation was completely independent of the Ntsebeza enquiry initiated by the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA).

In October, SAICA announced an independent inquiry into the conduct of some chartered accountants formerly employed by embattled audit firm KPMG to be headed by an independent judge or senior counsel who will act as its chairman.

At the time that SAICA indicated it would pursue an independent enquiry, the IRBA cautioned of possible confusion in the marketplace about the nature, scope and findings of two different investigations, or that the market may conflate the two.

“The IRBA reiterates that it has no involvement in the Ntsebeza enquiry and will continue its own investigations following its due process in accordance with the Auditing Profession Act,” Agulhas said.

– African News Agency (ANA)