Gupta-owned Oakbay finds new auditors

Cape Town - Oakybay Resources and Energy has announced the appointment of new auditors after KPMG cut ties with the Gupta-owned company this year.

It has appointed SizweNtsalubaGobodo – which also audits state-owned entities Eskom, Denel, Transnet and the SABC – as its new auditors.

The appointment was made with immediate effect, the company said in a statement on Thursday.

SizweNtsalubaGobodo is an African firm that delivers the full spectrum of audit, advisory and forensic services, it said on its website.

Other clients include Anglo American, Pick n Pay, Spar and Multichoice.

Oakbay's auditor KPMG, the top four banks and Oakbay’s JSE sponsor Sasfin Capital all cut ties with Oakbay Investments in March and CEO Nazeem Howa has been on a mission to get the banks to rethink their move.

On April 1, Fin24 broke the first story revealing that companies were cutting ties with Oakbay.

READ: KPMG cuts ties with Gupta business empire

Fin24 quoted KPMG Southern Africa CEO Trevor Hoole, who told staff in an internal letter that "the recent media and political interest in the Gupta family, together with comments and questions from various stakeholders … has required us to evaluate the continued provision of our services to this group".

“We have decided that we should terminate our relationship with the group immediately,” he said. “I can assure you that this decision was not taken lightly, but in our view the association risk is too great for us to continue.

“It is with heavy hearts that we have reached our conclusion, and there will clearly be financial and potentially other consequences to this, but we view them as justifiable.”

READ: Gupta-owned Oakbay staff want letter retracted

Launched in 2011 through the merger of two leading auditing firms, SizweNtsaluba VSP and Gobodo Incorporated, SizweNtsalubaGobodo has a combined legacy of 29 years and has established itself as the fifth largest accounting firm in Southern Africa, it explained on its website.

WATCH: How Guptas plan to get banks back

SizweNtsalubaGobodo recently spoke out on the issue of corruption in South Africa.

Peter Goss, head of forensics and public sector leader at SizweNtsalubaGobodo, said in February that “adequately addressing corruption at national level will require private sector, business and civil society stepping-up and acknowledging their role in the fight against corruption”.

He was commenting on the Global Corruption Perception Index 2015, which saw South Africa improve its ranking over the last three years from 72 to 61 in 2015.

He said “the ongoing, much publicised incidences of local corruption indicate that going forward, a combined and sustained effort will be required to ensure we continue to stamp out fraud and corruption at all levels”.

“A possible solution here would be for government to work towards implementing a sustained programme to communicate all of its anti-corruption efforts, as this is something that will go a long way towards increasing confidence within the international community.”

READ: Guptas exit fails to soothe state capture fears

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