Lit­tle de­tail on probe into KPMG on Gupta job

Business Day - - BUSINESS & ECONOMY - Genevieve Quin­tal Po­lit­i­cal Writer quin­talg@busi­

There was con­fu­sion sur­round­ing the in­de­pen­dent in­quiry into the work KPMG SA con­ducted for the Gup­tas and the re­port the au­dit firm com­piled on the South African Rev­enue Ser­vice’s (SARS’) so-called rogue unit.

De­spite an ear­lier an­nounce­ment that the se­nior coun­sel of the panel, terms of ref­er­ence and scope of the in­quiry would be made known on Thurs­day, there was still no in­for­ma­tion avail­able by the evening.

Last week, new KPMG SA CEO Nh­lamu Dlomu said the an­nounce­ment would be made on Oc­to­ber 12. Busi­ness Day was first in­formed that the South African In­sti­tute of Char­tered Ac­coun­tants (Saica) was con­ven­ing the in­quiry and it would make the an­nounce­ment.

But late on Thurs­day, KPMG SA said it would not be mak­ing the an­nounce­ment.

Saica CEO Ter­ence Nombe­mbe clar­i­fied that the in­sti­tute would play an over­sight role, to en­sure that the in­quiry was in­deed es­tab­lished and that it was in­de­pen­dent. The in­quiry would be led by a re­tired judge or an ad­vo­cate. The an­nounce­ment on how the in­quiry would un­fold would be made by the per­son se­lected to lead it.

“We can’t be in­volved in it,” said Nombe­mbe. He re­it­er­ated that Saica did not have the ca­pac­ity to in­sti­tute the in­quiry.

The In­de­pen­dent Reg­u­la­tory Board for Au­di­tors is also in­ves­ti­gat­ing KPMG’s con­duct.

On Septem­ber 22, KPMG In­ter­na­tional an­nounced that there would be an in­de­pen­dent in­quiry into the work of its South African arm. Then in­ter­na­tional chair­man John Veih­meyer said the firm was “in ac­tive dis­cus­sions to iden­tify a cred­i­ble, se­nior, in­de­pen­dent le­gal fig­ure to lead the in­ves­ti­ga­tion”.

Dlomu and other KPMG of­fi­cials had ap­peared be­fore Par­lia­ment’s stand­ing com­mit­tee on public ac­counts, where they bat­tled to an­swer ques­tions.

A key ques­tion was whether the in­quiry could be in­de­pen­dent if KPMG was fund­ing it. Saica con­firmed that its board had de­cided to fund the in­de­pen­dent in­quiry.

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