Amendments to the law governing the auditing profession could give the regulator powers enjoyed by select law-enforcement agencies. The bill which the National Treasury introduced to parliament had striking changes compared with the one published in August 2018. It is proposed to give the Independent Regulatory Board for Auditors (IRBA) the power to enter and search premises when investigating auditors for improper conduct. In the first draft it was proposed only to give the IRBA powers to subpoena any person with information required to complete an investigation. This, the Treasury said, was due to auditing firms not co-operating when the IRBA investigates auditors. The new proposed amendment followed public consultation which started in 2018. IRBA CEO Bernard Agulhas said the regulator experienced difficulties in gathering the evidence, audit files and correspondence it required for its investigations. “This led to the investigations being lengthy due to unnecessary delays,” he sa...

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