Employees at audit firm Nkonki have applied to a Pretoria court to block the company’s liquidation and have it put into administration instead so that there is a chance the business can be rescued, according to a court filing.

Last month, Nkonki said damage to its brand and uncertainty over future revenue streams had led to the decision to liquidate the company. This was after Auditor-General Kimi Makwetu terminated its contract with Nkonki in April, following reports that a management buyout, led by Nkonki’s former CEO Mitesh Patel, was funded by an associate of the Gupta family.

The Auditor-General had initially decided to await the outcome of independent investigations into KPMG but realised that these would not be concluded ahead of its statutory audit sign-off dates.

The Nkonki story broke when his office was very close to these sign-off deadlines, requiring immediate action, Makwetu said. The Nkonki leadership had also failed to provide his office with a regulatory report that assessed the firm’s compliance with quality control standards.

Furthermore, acting CEO Thuto Masasa could not confirm who the company’s shareholders were until recently.

Bloomberg, with Hanna Ziady