Pravin threat­ens to sue au­dit firm and wants apol­ogy over ‘rogue unit’

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - FRONT PAGE - SIYABONGA MKHWANAZI and REUTERS

PRAVIN Gord­han threat­ened to sue au­dit firm KPMG and de­manded an apol­ogy over the dam­age the com­pany had caused with the con­tro­ver­sial South African Rev­enue Ser­vice “rogue unit” re­port. Eight se­nior ex­ec­u­tives were forced out in a ma­jor shake-up yes­ter­day.

The firm also an­nounced it had with­drawn the Sars rogue unit re­port for fall­ing short of the stan­dard of work the com­pany ex­pected.

For­mer fi­nance min­is­ter Gord­han has been un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion by the cur­rent lead­er­ship of Sars and the Hawks over the “rogue unit.”

KPMG said “the ev­i­dence in the doc­u­men­ta­tion pro­vided to KPMG South Africa does not sup­port the in­ter­pre­ta­tion that Mr Gord­han knew, or ought to have known, of the ‘rogue’ na­ture of this unit.

“We recog­nise and re­gret the im­pact this has had.”

The firm had of­fered to re­pay Sars the R23 mil­lion fee re­ceived for the ex­ten­sive work per­formed, or to make a donation for the same amount to char­ity.

De­mand­ing an apol­ogy, Gord­han said the col­lab­ora- tion of KPMG ex­ec­u­tives with “ne­far­i­ous char­ac­ters” in Sars had led to “state cap­ture” of the in­sti­tu­tion.

Yes­ter­day, the fir m an­nounced the res­ig­na­tions of chief ex­ec­u­tive Trevor Hoole, chief op­er­at­ing of­fi­cer Steven Louw, chair­per­son Ahmed Jaf­fer and five se­nior part­ners.

KPMG has been em­broiled in con­tro­versy in the past few weeks over the work it did for the Gup­tas, in­clud­ing the si­phon­ing of R30 mil­lion from the dairy farm in Vrede, Free State, to pay for a lav­ish wed­ding in Sun City in 2013.

Nh­lamu Dlomo was yes­ter­day ap­pointed to re­place Hoole.

The Gup­tas have been un­der fire in re­cent months with mount­ing calls for Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma to set up a com­mis­sion of in­quiry into state cap­ture.

The North Gaut­eng High Court heard an ap­pli­ca­tion by the of­fi­cial op­po­si­tion in Par­lia­ment for the es­tab­lish­ment of the com­mis­sion of in­quiry.

This week, the Supreme Court of Ap­peal also heard another ap­pli­ca­tion by Zuma to drop cor­rup­tion charges against him.

But in a dra­matic twist, Zuma’s lawyer Kemp J Kemp ad­mit­ted the de­ci­sion by for- mer act­ing Na­tional Prose­cut­ing Au­thor­ity head Mokotedi Mp­she to drop the charges against Zuma in 2009 was “ir­ra­tional”.

This has led to op­po­si­tion par­ties in Par­lia­ment call­ing for the NPA to re­in­state the charges against Zuma, who said he would make fresh rep­re­sen­ta­tion on why the charges must not be re­in­stated.

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