PwC auditor reveals at Zondo inquiry SAA did not comply with public finance act
PwC auditor Pule Mothibe has conceded that the company misled the public by omitting to state in its audit report that SAA had not complied with the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA).
In his evidence to the commission of inquiry into state capture on Thursday, Mothibe said PwC had conducted an audit on SAA on behalf of SA's auditor-general.
The commission, chaired by deputy chief justice Raymond Zondo, was set up by the government in August 2018 to investigate allegations of state capture, corruption and fraud. In setting up the Zondo commission, the president was implementing the recommendations in a report by then-public protector Thuli Madonsela after her investigation into state capture.
“From the work we performed, we found deviations which we elevated to the audit committee,” Mothibe sad. He said there were files missing from the financial statements the airline provided.
“Where we could not be provided with files, we reported the matter to the audit committee.”
He conceded that without the files, they were not able to complete all the necessary steps in the audit.
In his evidence, Mothibe also admitted that in their audit report they did not mention that SAA had not complied with the PFMA.
“We considered all the evidence provided for audit purposes and applied judgment and at that stage, our view was that there was no material non-compliance,” Mothibe told the commission.
“We should have mentioned the non-compliance with the PFMA,” he said.
Mothibe reluctantly conceded that it was a dereliction of duty on the company's part that it did not mention the non-compliance in the audit report.
He preferred the use of the word “omission” instead of “dereliction of duty”.
“It was an omission, chair.”
Evidence leader Kate Hofmeyr put to Mothibe that “if you don’t focus on and perform your duty to the last step, then your audit opinion will be incorrect”. He conceded.
“We had raised non-compliance with the audit committee.... We erred in not informing the shareholders,” Mothibe said. “We do concede that was an error of judgment. We should have mentioned those instances,” he said.
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