Picture: BUSINESS DAY
Picture: BUSINESS DAY

Alf Lees, the DA’s shadow deputy minister of finance, has written to the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (Saica) to ask that a report by its disciplinary committee into charges of misconduct against Robert Newsome, a senior executive at SAA and a former director of PwC, be publicly released.

The disciplinary hearing was the result of a complaint lodged against Newsome by Simon Mantell, CEO of Mantelli’s Biscuits. Mantell’s complaint related to a hearing by the Institute of Internal Auditors, which was chaired by Newsome.

The hearing, which was into the behaviour of Siyakhula Vilakazi, the chief audit executive of SAA, found there was insufficient evidence to charge Vilakazi. Mantell lodged the complaint on the grounds Newsome had not disclosed a conflict of interest in SAA matters.

Lees acknowledged it was to Saica’s credit that it had called for penalties to be imposed on Newsome and opened the disciplinary hearing to the public.

In this context, it was "astounding" the disciplinary committee’s ruling had not been made public, he said.

"Apparently Mr Robert Newsome was found to have been delinquent but was apparently given a limp slap on the wrist in place of the stringent penalties called for by Saica," said Lees.

SAA has confirmed that Newsome was appointed as interim head for risk and compliance on 1 May 2018.

When asked if Newsome had informed SAA that he was facing a Saica disciplinary hearing at the time he was appointed, Tlali Tlali, head of media relations at SAA, said "this is an internal matter between the employer and an employee".

In his letter to Saica, Lees said that as a direct consequence of the disciplinary committee’s decision not to make the report public, Newsome would continue in his role at SAA.

"Mr Robert Newsome has been appointed as a part of the new SAA management team in the vital post of acting head of risk and compliance. This is a position that requires absolute professionalism and integrity," said Lees.

IT’S ASTOUNDING THE DISCIPLINARY COMMITTEE RULING HAS NOT BEEN MADE PUBLIC.

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