Thu, 17 Oct 2019

The South African Institute of Chartered Accountants has issued draft charge sheets to two of its members following its Ntsebeza Inquiry into reports of wrongdoing by KPMG relating to the audit of Gupta companies and the South African Revenue Service Report, it said in a statement on Monday.

The inquiry released its Report to Saica in December 2018, which contains prima facie evidence of non-compliance with the Saica Code on the part of certain members, Saica said.

Since then, Saica has sought legal advice on how to implement the main recommendations in the report.

"Draft charge sheets have been issued in respect of two [...] members involved in the Gupta audits. Saica's Professional Conduct Committee (PCC), in a process not open to the public, is now required to request these members' representations and discharge its obligations in terms of By-law 19. Saica is unable to comment further on the processes in respect of these two members at this stage," it said.

Although three members were implicated, the third person is also a member of the Independent Regulatory Board for Auditors (IRBA), and Saica may not proceed with discipline until IRBA has made its decision, the statement added.

"Saica is compelled to take action against our members for breaches of the Saica Code. However, Saica's by-laws do not allow us to pursue primary disciplinary proceedings against members who are also members of the Independent Regulatory Board for Auditors (IRBA), unless IRBA has declined to pursue them itself. Most of the former KPMG leadership fall into this category.

"Saica is working closely with IRBA and assisting them where possible," it said.

It added, "Mr. Jacques Wessels, the engagement partner on many of the Gupta audits, faced a disciplinary hearing instituted by IRBA, which found that he had contravened numerous provisions of its Code of Conduct." In March this year, IRBA cancelled Wessels' registration as an auditor. Following this finding, a Saica disciplinary committee was convened to determine the appropriate action against Wessels as a CA.

"In essence, the DC decided to cancel Mr. Wessels's membership of Saica, which means that he is no longer able to use the CA(SA) designation," Saica said.

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