Steinhoff. Picture: SUPPLIED
Steinhoff. Picture: SUPPLIED

The Independent Regulatory Board for Auditors (Irba) now has 237 matters under investigation, representing 6.5% of the auditors registered with it. Irba oversees the auditing profession.

Irba director of investigations Jillian Bailey said 31% of the investigations are high-profile cases. Among the high-profile matters under investigation are VBS Mutual Bank, Steinhoff, Tongaat Hulett and EOH, which were hit by accounting scandals.

Bailey told the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) select committee on finance during a briefing on Tuesday that the charge sheets for VBS had been completed a long time ago. Progress was being made with the Steinhoff matter after a 14-month delay as Irba had been able to get the SA financials of the international retailer in February.

Good progress is also being made in the Tongaat Hulett and EOH investigations, Bailey said.

Select committee chair Yunus Carrim believes that Irba is moving too slowly with these investigations. There seems to be little progress with the Steinhoff matter, he said.

Acting Irba CEO Imre Nagy said the regulator is without a board. The term of the caretaker board, which was appointed by finance minister Tito Mboweni in February, came to an end in April. In terms of Irba legislation, the term of a caretaker board is limited to three months. Irba is now waiting for the minister to appoint a new board, Nagy added.

Mboweni sacked the entire Irba board in January after a number of directors resigned. Nagy was appointed as acting CEO after the sudden departure of former CEO Jenitha John after a term of only seven months.

Nagy said the caretaker board has taken decisive action in resolving the backlog of cases in board committees. Irba’s five-year strategy has been refocused on restoring confidence in the regulator and in the auditing profession, which has suffered blows from a spate of accounting scandals.

ensorl@businesslive.co.za

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