Ramaphosa: SARS 'rogue unit' report was 'grossly unfair' to Gordhan

Cape Town - The "rogue unit" report that KPMG produced on the South African Revenue Service was "grossly unfair" to former finance minister Pravin Gordhan which has led to undesirable consequences, said Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa on Thursday. 

He was responding to questions in the National Assembly when Tim Brauteseth from the Democratic Alliance (DA) asked Ramaphosa if he would on behalf of the South African government apologise to Gordhan for the damage it had caused. He also wanted to know if the report would be released for public scrutiny. 

Ramaphosa said he cannot apologise, as SARS falls under the jurisdiction of Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba, neither can he make a call on whether the report should be released publicly. 

"But from where I stand it seems the report itself was grossly unfair to former minister Gordhan and an apology should be coming from the appropriate quarter. I don’t want to flippantly say this is what we’ll do or say, but it’s a matter of great concern. It’s controversial and it has led to undesirable consequences." 

On Friday September 15, KPMG announced that it had retracted its findings, recommendations and conclusions of its “rogue unit report” and offered to repay the R23m that SARS paid for the report.

KPMG is the subject of two investigations – one by the Independent Regulatory Board of Auditors and another by the South African Institute for Chartered Accountants (Saica).

In addition, former KPMG auditor Johan van der Walt, who was the lead partner on the "rogue unit" report, is also being investigated by 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.

Apart from the IRBA and Saica investigations, KPMG is also the subject of an independent investigation which will probe the firm's conduct when it did work for the Gupta family and their business associates. 

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