Picture: REUTERS
Picture: REUTERS

There was confusion surrounding the independent inquiry into the work KPMG SA conducted for the Guptas and the report the audit firm compiled on the South African Revenue Service’s (SARS’) so-called rogue unit.

Despite an earlier announcement that the senior counsel of the panel, terms of reference and scope of the inquiry would be made known on Thursday, there was still no information available by the evening.

Last week new KPMG SA CEO Nhlamu Dlomu said the announcement would be made on October 12. Business Day was first informed that the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (Saica) was convening the inquiry and it would make the announcement.

But late on Thursday KPMG SA said it would not be making the announcement.

Saica CEO Terence Nombembe clarified that the institute would play an oversight role, to ensure that the inquiry was indeed established and that it was independent. The inquiry would be led by a retired judge or an advocate. The announcement on how the inquiry would unfold would be made by the person selected to lead it.

"We can’t be involved in it," said Nombembe. He reiterated that Saica did not have the capacity to institute the inquiry.

The Independent Regulatory Board for Auditors is also investigating KPMG’s conduct.

On September 22, KPMG International announced that there would be an independent inquiry into the work of its South African arm. Then international chairman John Veihmeyer said the firm was "in active discussions to identify a credible, senior, independent legal figure to lead the investigation".

Dlomu and other KPMG officials had appeared before Parliament’s standing committee on public accounts where they battled to answer questions.

A key question was whether the inquiry could be independent if KPMG was funding it. Saica confirmed that its board had decided to fund the independent inquiry.

quintalg@businesslive.co.za

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