KPMG’s South Africa bosses purged over Gupta scandal
Global auditor KPMG cleared out its South African leadership en masse on Friday after damning findings from an internal investigation into work done for businessmen friends of President Jacob Zuma.
KPMG’s investigation into its work for the Guptas, accused by a public watchdog of improperly influencing government contracts, iden- tified no evidence of crimes or corruption, but found that work done for Gupta family firms “fell considerably short of KPMG’s standards”, the auditor said in a statement.
In particular, it acknowledged “flaws” in a report that it compiled for South Africa’s tax service, which implied that former finance minister Pravin Gordhan had helped set up a “rogue spy unit” when he was head of the service. Gordhan, subsequently sacked as finance minister by Zuma, said the report had damaged South Africa’s young democracy, and that he was considering legal steps.
KPMG became the third global firm to be damaged by work carried out for the Indian-born brothers after the business consultancy McKinsey and the public relations agency Bell Pottinger, whose British business collapsed this week.
Both Zuma and the Guptas deny wrongdoing and say they are victims of a politically motivated witch-hunt. The Guptas and their companies have not been charged with any crime, but the scandal is one of many that have dogged the Zuma presidency. KPMG said it would donate 40 million rand earned in fees from Gupta-controlled firms to education and anti-corruption groups, and refund 23 million rand it had received for the tax service report.