Ready for action: Advocate Dumisa Ntsebeza will lead the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants’s inquiry into KPMG and the work it did for the Gupta family. A separate inquiry will be done by the Independent Regulatory Board for Auditors. Picture: RUSSELL ROBERTS
Ready for action: Advocate Dumisa Ntsebeza will lead the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants’s inquiry into KPMG and the work it did for the Gupta family. A separate inquiry will be done by the Independent Regulatory Board for Auditors. Picture: RUSSELL ROBERTS

The South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (Saica) inquiry into KPMG and the work it did for the Gupta family is expected to start hearing testimony later in January.

Also covered by the probe is the report on the South African Revenue Service’s (SARS’s) so-called rogue unit.

The "independent" inquiry, led by advocate Dumisa Ntsebeza, is looking into the institute’s members employed by KPMG and whose conduct allegedly contravened the Saica Code of Professional Conduct.

A second probe into KPMG’s conduct is being carried out by the Independent Regulatory Board for Auditors (Irba). The two investigations are separate.

KPMG has been at the centre of state capture allegations. The fallout over its work for the Guptas and its SARS report led to the loss of a number of its clients and the departure of nine senior executives, including former CEO Trevor Hoole.

Other clients are waiting for the outcome of the investigations before making a decision on whether to keep working with the firm.

There was confusion in 2017 over whether the Saica inquiry would be the independent inquiry announced in September by the firm. However, after the terms of reference were released, KPMG SA said it was "considering if additional steps need to be taken".

Other clients are waiting for the outcome of the investigations before making a decision on whether to keep working with the firm

Spokesman Nqubeko Sibiya on Sunday said the firm welcomed the confirmation by Saica CEO Terence Nombembe on December 5 that the Ntsebeza inquiry would "provide the reassurance" the company called for.

"We are engaging with this independent inquiry as part of our commitment to rebuilding public trust and look forward to the publication of the inquiry’s findings once its work is complete," he said.

Sibiya said KPMG SA was co-operating with both inquiries by responding to information requests from relevant bodies.

The Ntsebeza inquiry has been divided into four phases.

MMMG Attorneys, the secretariat for the inquiry, said it was in the second phase of reviewing submissions, which close on January 19.

The inquiry panel is due to meet on Monday to finalise the scheduling and decide on a programme for the hearings and sequencing of witnesses.

In phase three, witnesses would be invited to appear before the inquiry to present their evidence. Phase three was set to start on January 22 and end on February 28, the secretariat said. "The scheduling as announced in our media statement of November 2 2017 is still on track," it said.

"The inquiry made an open call for submissions and has received substantial submissions from interested parties who responded to the inquiry’s call for submissions."

On Friday, Irba said one of the lines of its investigation was nearly complete and would be tabled at the upcoming investigating committee.

It said it was conducting "a multifaceted investigation", which had extended beyond the initial investigation into the audits of Linkway Trading, which was allegedly used to channel R30m of taxpayers’ money to fund the infamous 2013 Sun City Gupta wedding.

Irba said the other lines of its investigations were "progressing satisfactorily", though in two matters it was still waiting for information requested from KPMG.

Sibiya said KPMG SA was in “active discussions” with the Irba regarding outstanding information.

quintalg@businesslive.co.za

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