Business as usual at KPMG Namibia, says senior partner

Windhoek-Despite the storm of controversy swirling about its South African sister company, auditing firm KPMG Namibia will continue to do business as usual and to service its clients while drawing on its staff, partners and colleagues in the region and internationally.

This is according to a statement by Robert Grant, senior partner at KPMG Namibia, after KPMG International (KPMGI) announced a comprehensive investigation into work performed by the firm for the Gupta family and their businesses, as well as a highly contested report produced in 2015 for the South African Revenue Service (SARS).

It is important to note that the investigation did not find any evidence of illegal behaviour or corruption by KPMG's South African partners or staff. However, the investigation did find work that fell considerably short of KPMG's standards and the findings set out a comprehensive set of actions for KPMG South Africa to address those issues.

KPMGI is seconding a number of very experienced partners from around the world to assist the firm fulfil its key role in our regional markets and communities and provide the global level standard of service going forward that is expected of KPMG, read Grant's statement.

The board of KPMG South Africa, working with KPMGI, recently announced leadership changes at the firm. Trevor Hoole tendered his resignation as CEO for KPMG South Africa and the board selected Nhlamu Dlomu, an experienced partner in the firm, as his successor.

A number of international audit firm's senior South African executives have also resigned.

Stakeholders of KPMG may understandably be concerned as to whether the developments in South Africa will impact on the firm's activities in Namibia. The partners and staff of KPMG in Namibia wish to reassure our stakeholders and the public that we remain committed to our clients, our vision to be the clear choice and our purpose to inspire confidence and empower change, Grant's statement continued.

KPMG South Africa went into damage control mode when an expose revealed that KPMG failed to pick up that funds from the Free State government meant for a dairy farm project largely paid for a R30 million Gupta wedding that caused an uproar countrywide after the wealthy, politically connected family used the Waterkloof Air Force Base in Pretoria to land an aircraft carrying wedding guests.

The South African firm has also withdrawn a report, which has to a large extent been blamed for damaging the reputation of South Africa's former finance minister Pravin Gordhan, in what KPMG has since admitted was a slanted report into a so-called rogue unit at the South African Revenue Service where Gordhan was SARS commissioner at the time.

Since then the board of the Institute of Directors in Southern Africa (IoDSA) decided to suspend all co-branded activities with KPMG. The South African National Civic Organisation (Sanco) called on government and business to blacklist KPMG for unethical behaviour.

KPMG SA has also announced that it would be taking disciplinary action seeking the dismissal of Jacques Wessels, the lead partner on the audits of the non-listed Gupta entities.

KPMG is a global network of professional firms providing audit, tax and advisory services. It operates in 162 countries and has more than 189,000 people working in member firms around the world.

Although the independent member firms of the KPMG network are affiliated with KPMGI, a Swiss entity, each KPMG firm is a legally distinct and separate entity and describes itself as such.

Source: New Era Newspaper Namibia