Bring the auditors to account
THEY say a new broom sweeps clean, but the old one knows all the corners. We hope the new chief executive of beleaguered audit firm KPMG has been shown all the corners.
Nhlamu Dlomu takes over in the wake of top executives departing amid revelations of unethical work and allegations of involvement in “state capture”.
She said she was committed to rectifying “mistakes identified” at KPMG SA and determined to ensure the firm survived, jobs were saved and trust rebuilt.
A daunting task lies ahead for her and time is of the essence. She must sweep up quickly to protect the 3500 or so jobs on the line and restore the tattered reputation of the once-respected arm of the multinational consultancy.
The growing number of companies that have either severed ties with KPMG or are considering doing so suggests an urgent need for corrective action.
The auditing and management consulting fraternity has been tarnished. South Africa’s image, and that of its financial sector, has also been damaged.
Citizens are owed not just an apology and the return of the taxpayers’ money applied to any suspect work, but a complete accounting.
While the former head and his senior executives have exited, more repair work is needed. They must tell the truth. Somebody must be held to account and prosecutions must follow.
KPMG is one of the four major auditing firms South Africa’s financial sector trusted to hold to account private and stateowned enterprises. With this huge cloud hanging over its head, can we still trust it to do its job and help prevent the mismanagement of public and private resources that seems to be getting out of hand?
Corruption is taking a toll on our economy. Foreign investors hesitate to trust us with their money and locals are said to be sitting on as much as R700 billion.
The result is a subdued economy, revenue shortfalls for the fiscus and concern that the rot may set in if not arrested.
The University of Kwazulu-natal’s Nelson R Mandela Medical School has its own cloud of corruption following revelations of study places-for-sale. And KPMG has been at the centre of that investigation. With so many severing ties with this company, the student body has put pressure on the institution of higher learning to also cut ties with KPMG.
Is the university happy with KPMG’S work? So far, it has not expressed a view on the matter. But inaction will not help the university’s image. Perhaps the university should heed its student body.