Gary Pickering. Image: KPMG publicity
Gary Pickering. Image: KPMG publicity

KPMG SA director Gary Pickering acknowledged before Parliament’s Standing Committee on Public Accounts that the heads of KPMG who left the firm in light of the latest scandals around certain reports were paid packages to leave.

In September KPMG embarked on a major board sweep where individuals‚ including then-CEO Trevor Hoole‚ resigned following revelations of the firm’s conduct in handling reports into the SA Revenue Service “rogue unit” report as well as their work into the Gupta-owned Oakbay.

The firm is currently being probed by the Independent Regulatory Board of Auditors. Newly appointed CEO Nhlamulo Dlomu and director Gary Pickering briefed the standing committee in Parliament on Thursday morning.

During the course of the hearing Nthabiseng Khunou eventually appeared to join the standing committee as they grilled KPMG. She was the only African National Congress committee member in the room.

In his turn at the Scopa hearing‚ Democratic Alliance MP Tim Brauteseth asked what elements of the rogue unit report to Sars were deemed invalid by KPMG International following an internal review. 

Pickering said KPMG International did not make findings on the methodology of the report itself but found that of the conclusions‚ recommendations and legal opinion of the report‚ only one was found to be reliable while the others were unreliable or inconclusive.

“They reviewed our methodology in teams of the recommendations‚ conclusion and legal opinion and that is what was found to be have been reviewed and found to be unreliable‚” said Pickering.

After Brauteseth pressed for answers on the exit of former heads at the firm‚ Pickering admitted certain packages were paid to some of those who resigned in September “in the interest of speed”.

Brauteseth also took issue with the rapid action which KPMG took amid the reports‚ saying that it appeared as though the firm was scrambling to mask wrongdoing from the public.

“Why are you so suspiciously generous? Do the findings against the recommendations‚ conclusion and legal opinion make the entire report worthless? Have packages been paid to the persons listed who resigned?” asked Brauteseth.

Dlomu said KPMG had resolved to cooperate with the inquiry by the Independent Regulatory Board of Auditors and that the firm is not looking to obscure the view of what took place during the production of their report.

“This is not windowdressing. The reason we are calling for an independent inquiry is to establish facts. The amounts that we pay back will be of help to communities and we view it as a start to reparation‚” said Dlomu.

- TimesLIVE

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