Alexan­der Forbes keeps door ajar for Kgosana

The Star Early Edition - - BUSINESS REPORT - Ka­belo Khu­malo

ALEXAN­DER Forbes yes­ter­day left the door open for non-ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor Moses Kgosana who re­signed on Mon­day fol­low­ing rev­e­la­tions he had a close re­la­tion­ship with Atul Gupta when he was with au­dit firm KPMG ad­vis­ing on Oak­bay en­ti­ties.

The com­pany said it would wait for Kgosana, who was meant to take up the chair­man­ship of the au­dit­ing and risk firm at the end of the next month, to clear his name.

Alexan­der Forbes chief ex­ec­u­tive An­drew Dar­foor said Kgosana had asked to be given time to fo­cus on the al­le­ga­tions. “He has, there­fore, stepped down from all in­volve­ment with Alexan­der Forbes. Mr Kgosana is, how­ever, nat­u­rally wel­come to en­gage with Alexan­der Forbes’ board at any time.

“At present, Sello Moloko re­mains non-ex­ec­u­tive chair­man. When we have any fur­ther up­dates on the mat­ter we will com­mu­ni­cate this ac­cord­ingly.”

The soft­ened stance came as Alexan­der Forbes yes­ter­day made a raft of new ap­point­ments to its se­nior man­age­ment team, ap­point­ing for­mer SA Re­serve Bank ex­ec­u­tive Naidene Ford-Hoon as chief fi­nan­cial of­fi­cer and Chris­tian Schaub as chief hu­man re­sources (HR) of­fi­cer.

The com­pany also moved its for­mer HR chief, Thabo Mashaba, to a new po­si­tion as group chief em­pow­er­ment and trans­for­ma­tion of­fi­cer.

It said the ap­point­ments would be ef­fec­tive from Septem­ber 1.

Dar­foor, how­ever, de­nied the new ap­point­ments were meant to counter neg­a­tive per­cep­tions cre­ated by Kgosana’s en­tan­gle­ment in the Gupta af­fair.

“The ex­ec­u­tive ap­point­ments an­nounced to­day are not in any way re­lated to the res­ig­na­tion of Kgosana. Alexan­der Forbes has, as part of its Am­bi­tion 2022 vi­sion an­nounced well be­fore Kgosana re­signed, strength­en­ing its ex­ec­u­tive man­age­ment, and the ap­point­ments an­nounced are part of that on­go­ing process.”

Kgosana joined the Alexan­der Forbes board in 2015, and ear­lier this year was ap­pointed as the non-ex­ec­u­tive chair­per­son to re­place Moloko, who was sched­uled to step down.

Not forced out

Yes­ter­day, Kgosana said he was not forced out of Alexan­der Forbes but re­signed to pro­tect the com­pany be­ing dragged into al­le­ga­tions that did not di­rectly im­pli­cate it.

Kgosana in­sisted that his res­ig­na­tion was not an ad­mis­sion of guilt or wrong­do­ing.

Kgosana also de­fended his at­ten­dance of the Gupta wed­ding as part and par­cel of his job. “As a chief ex­ec­u­tive of an au­dit firm, one of my roles is to have a re­la­tion­ship with top clients,” Kgosana said.

The In­de­pen­dent Reg­u­la­tory Board for Au­di­tors (IRBA) has since said it would con­duct an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the 2014 au­dit­ing of Linkway Trad­ing, the com­pany al­leged to be in­volved in the Gupta wed­ding scan­dal.

Cor­rup­tion Watch ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor David Lewis said it was wor­ry­ing that KPMG had once again been im­pli­cated in im­proper re­la­tions with clients.

“KPMG has been pre­vi­ously ac­cused of bend­ing the rules to sat­isfy its client, no­tably in re­la­tion to – hav­ing is­sued a fla­grantly mis­lead­ing and bi­ased re­port smear­ing then min­is­ter of fi­nance Pravin Gord­han – the al­leged ‘rogue unit’ within Sars,” Lewis said.

KPMG in a state­ment de­nied any wrong­do­ing.

“At the time of the au­dit, based on facts known to us and rep­re­sen­ta­tions made by man­age­ment, Ac­cu­rate In­vest­ments was an en­tity re­lated to the fa­ther of the bride, an off­shore res­i­dent, who was not re­lated to the Oak­bay group of com­pa­nies,” the au­dit firm in­sisted.

Rus­sian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin, right, and Chi­nese Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping shake hands dur­ing a sign­ing cer­e­mony fol­low­ing talks in the Krem­lin, Moscow, on ex­pand­ing co-op­er­a­tion and jointly build­ing an “Ice Silk Road”. Xi urged the two coun­tries to carry out the North­ern Sea Route co-op­er­a­tion. Xi said China and Rus­sia should in­creas­ingly work to­gether in the ar­eas of trade, in­vest­ment, en­ergy, man­u­fac­tur­ing and rail­ways and should push for an early start to the Moscow-Kazan high-speed rail­way project. – Xin­hua

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