Johannesburg – The independent investigation into Chartered Accountants involved in the KPMG saga, launched by the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA) and dubbed the Ntsebeza Inquiry, is on track.
The investigation, which began in November last year, is chaired by Advocate Dumisa Ntsebeza SC. It is looking at allegations that some of the SAICA members employed by KPMG had allegedly engaged in conduct in contravention of the SAICA Code of Professional Conduct.
This follows claims relating to unethical and unprofessional conduct in relation to audit work carried out by KPMG for both public and private sector clients and the South African Revenue Service.
The investigation runs concurrently to an Independent Regulatory Board for Auditors (IRBA) investigation, which is reviewing KPMG as an entity.
In a statement issued on Saturday, Ntsebeza said the first phase of the inquiry, which was supposed to have ended in November, had been delayed due to numerous requests for extensions and delays due to the unavailability of both the panellists and those making submissions, due to respective predetermined schedules.
The inquiry panel also includes Advocate Vuyani Ngalwana SC, who is the Chair of the General Council of the Bar, Dr. Claudelle von Eck, the CEO of the Institute of Internal Auditors SA (IIA SA), former Accountant-General, Freeman Nomvalo, as well as the former Chair of the JSE, Malcolm Robert Johnston.
Ntsebeza said there was a general lack of understanding of the role of the inquiry. He pointed out that SAICA set up the inquiry to determine whether those implicated, who are members of SAICA, and hold the Chartered Accountant (CAs) (SA) designation, should be disciplined under SAICA’s Code of Conduct.
He said a number of submissions had been received that fell outside of the scope of the inquiry.
“For example, requests were received to investigate the conduct of other organisations. The panel will forward these and other related allegations to IRBA,” he said.
“The panel’s sole focus is presently on current and former employees of KPMG who are members of SAICA and who have been adversely implicated in the relevant period.”
Ntsebeza said there also appeared to be an expectation that the inquiry will hold any implicated CAs (SA) accountable.
“There are three distinct processes, namely, an investigation, adjudication and imposition of sanctions. The Ntsebeza Inquiry is only responsible for the first leg,” he said.
He said once the inquiry’s work was complete, its report would form the basis on which SAICA may decide to discipline its implicated members, if so advised.
“This would ordinarily be after its coded disciplinary processes have been followed, which may include disciplinary hearings,” he said.
Ntsebeza said the panel was on track to meet its overall deadline, and was currently in the “review of submissions phase” and was in the process of appointing an evidence leader, whose name would be announced in due course.