Johannesburg, 2 March 2018 - The Ntsebeza Inquiry adjourned on 21 February 2018 in order to allow those who will take the witness stand enough time to prepare themselves. In ensuring procedural fairness, the Inquiry must ensure that every implicated member of SAICA, in relation to the KPMG saga, is aware of the allegations against them, and that all of them will be given an opportunity to cross-examine witnesses, if they so wish or are so advised.
The Inquiry is still awaiting, from KPMG, the full list of employees who had been involved in engagements, and who are implicated in the submissions received. It was clear from the testimony to the Inquiry by Adri Kleinhans, SAICA Project Director – Training that SAICA’s Code of Professional Conduct applies to all its members, including trainees.
Testimony received from SAICA representatives has revealed that its Code of Professional Conduct (The Code) has undergone updates, as is standard practice. The Evidence Leaders therefore need to ensure that the correct version of the Code, in relation to the relevant period, is used in determining whether or not the individuals have breached the Code.
In response to queries around the availability of the final SARS report, Advocate Dumisa Ntsebeza SC said: “We received a request for the final SARS report, dubbed the “rogue” report, from one of the individuals who had come forward as a potential witness.” He added that it had taken the Inquiry some time to obtain the final version of the report from KPMG, who cited as a reason for their delay in providing the Inquiry with the report that they first needed to obtain permission from SARS before they could release it.
Adv. Ntsebeza SC has confirmed that the final version of the report has since been received, and that the individual who had asked for it had been furnished with the same version.
Adv. Ntsebeza SC, however, has expressed concern that there is a perception that the Inquiry will pass judgement on whether the findings in the report are accurate or not. “I must reiterate that our mandate is to investigate whether or not the implicated employees of KMPG, who are members of SAICA, had breached the SAICA Code of Professional Conduct. The public must therefore not expect of us to pronounce on the report itself.”
Adv. Ntsebeza SC also said that meetings held between him and the incoming Chair of KPMG, Prof. Wiseman Nkuhlu, have left him with some measure of comfort that under the leadership of Prof. Nkuhlu, the Inquiry can be assured of all possible co-operation from KPMG at all times. Adv. Ntsebeza SC stressed that although the Inquiry is dependent on KPMG’s cooperation, it will not be investigating KPMG as an entity. “We’re investigating individuals as the Inquiry was established by SAICA in November 2017 with the aim of independently investigating allegations against some of its members employed by KPMG,” he said.
The hearings, which are open to the public and the media, are set to resume on 8 March 2018. “We may, from time to time, have in-camera hearings where circumstances warrant it, but that would be the exception, rather than the rule,” Adv. Ntsebeza SC concluded.
MMMG Attorneys Inc.
Ms Tebogo Motsai
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