NEWS ANALYSIS: Where were the internal auditors?
If internal auditors are supposed to challenge wrong practices within firms and are there every day as events leading to wrongdoing unfold, why have they escaped blame?
Where were the auditors? This is the question investors and the SA public have been asking since the near collapse of African Bank, the uncovering of accounting fraud at Steinhoff and more recent revelations that Tongaat Hulett inflated profits by billions of rand. This has, of course, placed the spotlight on the big auditing firms.
Deloitte, as an auditor of both Steinhoff and Tongaat, and KPMG, as an auditor of liquidated VBS Mutual Bank and Gupta-owned Linkway Trading, are feeling the heat. But where were the internal auditors of these companies, asks the Institute of Internal Auditors SA’s (IIASA) head of technical department, Dirk Strydom, who made a presentation during the institute’s annual conference, which ended on Wednesday.