Save SA calls for KPMG boycott

Advocacy group Save SA called on corporate South Africa to boycott auditing firm KPMG after it was implicated in state capture by the #GuptaLeaks.

The Save South Africa campaign on Monday called on South African business to boycott the services of auditing firm KPMG in light of the role it played in state capture, saying it "could be the next Bell Pottinger".
 
The advocacy group made the call, pointing out the firm had provided services to the Gupta family and at least 36 affiliated companies, and that an unprofessional relationship existed between certain KPMG staff and the Gupta-affiliated businesses.
 
"It's clear from the Gupta emails that there was a totally unprofessional and unacceptable level of familiarity between KPMG staff and the people they were supposed to be auditing, not to mention conflicts of interest," Save SA said in its statement.
 
It further pointed out that "several KPMG staff members were wined and dined by the family, including 2010 World Cup match tickets and invitations to the launch of The New Age and Diwali celebrations."
 
Save SA's call comes in the wake of emails from businesses linked to the family being made public (known as #GuptaLeaks) revealed that the Free State provincial government had paid for much of the lavish family wedding held at Sun City. The emails reportedly implicate KPMG, who allegedly funnelled taxpayer money to pay for the affair.
 
KPMG responded to Save SA's call by saying that a comprehensive review into the firm's work with the Gupta-linked businesses was underway.
 
"KPMG International is currently leading all aspects of the comprehensive review in relation to KPMG SA’s work with the Gupta Group, and the review is nearing conclusion. KPMGI and the KPMG SA Board will accept and act on the findings of the review," KPMG spokesperson Nqubeko Sibiya said.
 
"Should any wrong-doing be found, we are committed to driving absolute accountability and all required actions will be implemented," Sibiya said.
 
In a statement released by KPMG South Africa’s chief executive Trevor Hoole on August 11, he acknowledged that the firm should have cut ties with the family much sooner.
 
"It is now clear that based on publicly-available information, KPMG should have resigned earlier than March 2016 and should have stopped working for the Gupta companies sooner than we did," Hoole said.
 
However, Hoole repeated that an internal review had not found any evidence that the firm had "in any way supported or condoned alleged tax evasion or money laundering".
 
The review currently underway by KPMG International is expected to be finalised by the end of September.
 

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