Rob Rose Editor: Financial Mail

Last week, in the low-key surroundings of the Saint George hotel in Irene, 15km south of Pretoria, something very significant happened. There, auditing firm Deloitte was summoned by the Independent Regulatory Board for Auditors (IRBA) to face charges over the role it played at African Bank Investments, which collapsed under a mountain of bad debts in August 2014. The hearing is a big deal, not least because few auditors get hauled in front of a public tribunal in this way. But it is also significant because the 31-page charge sheet allows for a rather embarrassing peek into Deloitte’s kitchen, throwing light on the extent to which an "independent" auditor could bend over backwards for clients who pay it plenty. (African Bank paid Deloitte R41m over three years to 2014.) Reading through the charges, it’s easy to forget that just two years ago, SA’s auditing profession was rated the best of those of 137 countries in the World Economic Forum (WEF) global competitiveness rankings. Last ...

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