KPMG headquarters. Picture: ALON SKUY
KPMG headquarters. Picture: ALON SKUY

Wits University has decided not to renew its contracts with embattled KPMG for internal auditing and risk management services.

The contracts lapse at the end of the 2017 financial year.

The university’s council took the decision following a meeting with KPMG and the council’s audit and risk committees.

The international auditing and accounting firm has lost a number of clients following allegations over its auditing of Gupta companies and the withdrawal of parts of its report on the so-called rogue unit at the South African Revenue Service (SARS).

Student heads to the Great Hall to study at Wits  University, Johanesburg. Picture: SIHLE MAKU/THE TIMES
Student heads to the Great Hall to study at Wits University, Johanesburg. Picture: SIHLE MAKU/THE TIMES

The firm has been trying to do damage control, meeting with different clients to try reassure them as well as meeting with former finance minister Pravin Gordhan and others implicated in the SARS report.

Wits said its committees acknowledged that KPMG had taken some action, which included releasing a number of senior officials, but the university felt that it had "not gone far enough".

"Further, it was agreed that KPMG had not been sufficiently transparent and that it is hard to reconcile KPMG’s conclusion that no one did anything illegal, when senior individuals have been dismissed and the SARS report has been retracted," Wits said.

"In these circumstances, the council believes that it would have been prudent to acknowledge the ethical and legal lapses of KPMG’s senior management team."

The university also felt KPMG should have embarked on programmes to correct the wrongs that had been done to individuals and institutions, and an independent investigation should have been initiated at the outset.

It said PwC would remain the university’s external audit firm.

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