Property companies consider dumping KPMG amid Gupta scandal
A group of real-estate companies audited by KPMG is keeping a close eye on the Gupta-linked investigations
A group of real-estate companies which are externally audited by KPMG are monitoring investigations into the firm before deciding whether or not to continue to do business with the financial services firm.
KPMG International is reviewing the work KPMG SA did for the Gupta family.
The Independent Regulatory Board for Auditors (Irba) is also investigating its Gupta-related work.
Growthpoint Properties, the largest property company based in SA, said on Friday it was following investigations.
"We are monitoring what the regulators findings are and will make a decision based on that," said Growthpoint investor relations head Lauren Turner.
Redefine Properties, which is also audited by KPMG, is also monitoring investigations into the auditing firm. "Redefine is audited by KPMG. We are aware of the allegations against KPMG. Redefine expects all our stakeholders to demonstrate an unyielding commitment to the highest ethical standards.
"We understand KPMG are subject to a number of investigations and we are monitoring these developments and will assess the situation once more information becomes available," said CEO Andrew Konig.
Another KPMG client, Hyprop Investments, declined to comment when asked if it was reassessing its relationship.
Texton Property Fund — also a client — said it was paying attention to the investigations. "The audit and risk committee reviews the appointment of the auditor on an annual basis and will be taking the [Irba investigations] into account in its review of the appointment in the current year," a statement said.
Pan-African Investment and Research Services CEO Iraj Abedian said on Thursday he would step down from insurance group MunichRe Africa’s board of directors after 12 years because KPMG was its auditor.
On Friday, he implored more directors to sever ties with KPMG. "I believe that no director needs to wait any more.
"Those who are waiting for an Irba report or a KPMG International report, they are doing themselves a disservice. I am appealing to every self-respecting director, stop playing with the process and make a judgment on ethics."
The Institute of Directors in Southern Africa last week suspended co-branding activities with KPMG.
Nqubeko Sibiya, marketing and communications specialist at KPMG, said: "KPMG is currently not doing media interviews. We will do so once KPMG International has made its findings known. The target date for completion is end of September 2017."
A few of the things KPMG’s internal Gupta probe will need to look into:
Auditing and accounting firm KPMG says the review of work done for the Guptas will be comprehensive.
The review team is being led by a senior partner from KPMG International with law firm Norton Rose Fulbright as external counsel.
"The scale and scope is comprehensive and covers all aspects of our work related to the Gupta group," KPMG said.
It will report any irregularities to the relevant authorities if any wrongdoing was found.
These are some of the services KPMG rendered to the Guptas, according to the leaked e-mails:
• Appointed as auditor for a number of Gupta companies including All Craze, Oakbay Investments, Sahara Systems, Westdawn Investments, Tegeta Exploration & Resources (2008)
• Appointed auditor for Islandsite Investments 180 (2009)
• KPMG provided financial services pertaining to sales and data to Sahara Computers (December 2010);
• Advisory and financial services relating to the acquisition of Shiva Uranium (March 2011)
• Advice to the Sahara Group concerning setting up a foreign banking accounts.
• Auditing services for Sahara Group (2012 onwards);
• Financial statements for Oakbay Investments (2012 onwards)
• Handling of a tax dispute between Sahara and the South African Revenue Service (SARS) (October 2012); advisory and financial services to Infinity Media Networks ( 2013 onwards)
• Obtaining bank confirmations for Oakbay Investments (2014 onwards)
• Facilitation of a loan agreement between Wavestone and Oakbay Investments (2013)
• Conducted audits for Sahara Computers (May 2013)
• Advisory and other services relating to litigation between Sahara Holding and Q-Soft Technologies (2014)
• Auditing services for All Craze (2014 onwards)
• Auditing services for Sahara Distribution (2014 onwards)
• Auditing services for Sahara Holdings (2014 onwards)
• Financial statements for Sahara Distribution (2014 onwards)
• Financial statements for Sahara Computers, Sahara Consumables and Sahara Distributions (2014 onwards)
• Confidentiality agreement between Oakbay and Eternal Flame (May 2014)
• Confidentiality statement for Before the Wind Investments 220 (October 2014)
• "Subordination agreements" between Islandsite and Infinity Media Holdings and Islandsite and Vesiana Property Holdings, and putting together letters of comfort from shareholders (November 2014)
• Oakbay Resources and Energy listing on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (November 2014)
• Tax opinion and audit of VR Laser Services (January 2015)
• Audit of the Sun City wedding (September 2014)
• Audit of Sahara Distribution (April 2015)
• Due diligence on Ubank (January 2015)
• Duduzane Zuma’s remuneration at Oakbay Resources and Energy at year-end (February 2015)
• Peer analysis (March 2015)
• Checked Sahara Computers aircraft and their insurance (April and May 2015)
• Advice to two Gupta family members on investments and forming companies in Dubai; and an opinion on tax implications in the United Arab Emirates.
• Drafting of the confidential expression of intention to buy Optimum Coal (July 2015)
• Due diligence on Optimum Coal, called Project Dragline (November 2015)
• Various correspondence between KPMG and Shaun Blankfield of Glencore (June 2015)
• Conducted a valuation and put together financials for Gearhouse (August 2015)
• Audit of LMT Holdings, which had a contract with Denel, and this landed up in the Guptas’ possession (March 2015)
• Provided VAT advice for Sahara Computers when it had oversupplied stock to Lenovo;
• Put together a proposed scope for financial and tax due diligence for the Sarsgrove Dairy, called Project Jersey (April 2014)
• Managed the registration and administration of the TNA Foundation trust, free of charge
• Provided the Guptas with certain tax advisory, "tax structures and implications" and litigation services throughout the period in question
• Prepared various other financial statements and conducted multiple audits of a range of companies associated with the Guptas over the same period