Public disciplinary hearings into Deloitte’s audit of African Bank Investments Limited (Abil) began on Monday, in what is the biggest case the Independent Regulatory Board for Auditors (IRBA) has handled since its formation in 2006. The hearings come at a time when audit firms are subject to intense public scrutiny over their role in endorsing the financial statements of companies subsequently implicated in unlawful or unethical practices. The audit regulator, which was formed out of the Public Accountants and Auditors Board, is investigating KPMG for its audit work on Gupta-family companies and the South African Revenue Service. IRBA is also reviewing Deloitte’s audit files on Steinhoff for 2014 to 2016. Its investigation into Deloitte’s audit of Abil — which ceased to exist after its banking arm, African Bank, collapsed under a mountain of bad debt in August 2014 — dates back more than three years to December 2014. It culminated in Monday’s disciplinary hearing, the first hearing ...

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