KPMG staff probed for Gupta links

The Star Early Edition - - BUSI­NESS RE­PORT -

KPMG LLP’s South African of­fice sus­pended its lead au­dit-en­gage­ment part­ner and “re­lieved” two oth­ers pend­ing the re­sult of its in­ves­ti­ga­tion of the work that the firm did for com­pa­nies linked to the Gupta fam­ily, whose mem­bers are friends with Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma. KPMG re­signed as au­di­tor for the fam­ily’s busi­nesses in March 2016 “and should have stopped work­ing for the Gupta com­pa­nies sooner than we did,” Trevor Hoole, the chief ex­ec­u­tive of the firm’s of­fice in South Africa, said on Fri­day. KPMG South Africa failed to raise alarms when busi­nesses con­trolled by the Gupta fam­ily di­verted the equiv­a­lent of R30 mil­lion of public money to pay for a fam­ily wed­ding, ac­cord­ing to e-mailed com­mu­ni­ca­tion. The pa­pers are part of a trove of doc­u­ments known as the Gupta Leaks, which the amaBhun­gane Cen­tre for In­ves­tiga­tive Jour­nal­ism has ac­cess to and has based sto­ries on. The un­fold­ing scan­dal of how the Gupta fam­ily used its close­ness with Zuma to win bil­lions of rand worth of con­tracts from state-owned com­pa­nies and in­flu­ence gov­ern­ment ap­point­ments and de­ci­sions has led to chal­lenges to the pres­i­dent’s lead­er­ship and has weak­ened the cur­rency. All as­pects of KPMG South Africa’s work re­lated to the Gupta group “is be­ing ro­bustly re­viewed,” Hoole said.

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