SARS 'rogue unit' lead auditor investigated

Cape Town - Former KPMG auditor Johan van der Walt, who was the lead partner on the so-called SA Revenue Service (SARS) "rogue unit" report, is being investigated by the Independent Regulatory Board of Auditors (IRBA).

The report, which was requested by SARS Commissioner Tom Moyane, suggested that former Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan - when he was SARS commissioner - "ought to have known of the existence of the unit". The report's authors found no evidence, however, that Gordhan had been informed of the existence of the unit.

A copy of the report made headlines when it was leaked to the press in early October 2015. 

Last month, following the conclusion of an internal investigation, KPMG withdrew the findings and conclusions of this report. 

"To be clear, 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," it said. 

Gordhan has since indicated that, following the KPMG retraction, he is seeking legal advice.


The IRBA,a statutory body that oversees those parts of the accountancy profession involved with public accountancy, is currently investigating KPMG's role in allegations of state capture by the Gupta family.

Bernard Agulhas, CEO of the IRBA, told Fin24 on Tuesday that the IRBA "has issued the relevant registered auditor with a letter on Friday informing him that we will be investigating him".

Agulhas said in this kind of letter the IRBA usually requests an auditor to provide information which will be relevant to the investigation.

"In the current investigation, we will investigate the auditor’s conduct in delivering the professional service, inter alia, in terms of the IRBA code of professional conduct," said Agulhas.

"The IRBA sanctions, if an auditor is found guilty, include a caution or reprimand, suspension for a period, a maximum fine of R200 000 per charge or removal from the IRBA register."

Agulhas earlier said that IRBA does not have jurisdiction to investigate forensic reports per se, but that it would be able to probe the conduct of the auditor responsible for signing off on the report, provided the auditor is registered with IRBA.

Fin24 reported in July that the board of auditors was launching an investigation into KPMG's audits of Linkway Trading, a company allegedly at the centre of the Gupta wedding scandal.

In June, an amaBunghane and Scorpio investigation exposed what was called “an intricate web of money transfers and laundering” in 2013 through the Free State government, dairy firm Estina and a host of Gupta-linked companies, including Oakbay Investments and Linkway Trading.

SUBSCRIBE FOR FREE UPDATE: Get Fin24's top morning business news and opinions in your inbox.

Read Fin24's top stories trending on Twitter:

Brent Crude
All Share
Top 40
Financial 15
Industrial 25
Resource 10
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes morningstar logo
Company Snapshot
Voting Booth
Do you think it was a good idea for the government to approach the IMF for a $4.3 billion loan to fight Covid-19?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Yes. We need the money.
11% - 909 votes
It depends on how the funds are used.
74% - 6055 votes
No. We should have gotten the loan elsewhere.
15% - 1229 votes