KPMG South Africa senior leaders resign over Gupta scandal

KPMG South Africa senior leaders resign over Gupta scandal

The firm has also made a decision to take disciplinary action seeking dismissal in relation to Jacques Wessels - the lead partner on the audits of the non-listed Gupta entities.

The Guptas have been accused in the past of wielding influence in South African politics under President Jacob Zuma's administration.

The South African arm's top management has all resigned -the chief executive, Trevor Hoole, the chairman, Ahmed Jaffer and chief operating officer Steven Louw - as well as five partners.

KPMG South Africa said that it would donate the 40m rand (£2.2m) it earned from its work with Gupta businesses to charity and refund 23m rand (£1.29m) it earned from the SARS report.

"I absolutely understand that ultimate responsibility lies with me", Mr Hoole said in a statement.

With respect to the audits of the Gupta entities, KPMG said it was evident from the investigation that the audit work in certain instance fell well short of the quality expected, and that the audit teams failed to apply sufficient professional scepticism and to comply fully with auditing standards.

Andrew Cranston, former chief executive of KPMG in Russian Federation, has been appointed as interim chief operating officer.

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"Despite the deficiencies in the audit work, KPMG International found no evidence of dishonesty or unethical behaviour on the part of the audit partners and audit teams working on the audits for the Gupta group of companies".

The announcement stunned hundreds of KPMG staff crammed into an auditorium in its Johannesburg head offices and others listening in via video link from Cape Town and Pretoria. "But right now I don't think anybody knows what to think".

"KPMG must be subject to a full investigation both locally and internationally", he told Reuters.

In addition the investigation found significant problems with a controversial report the firm produced for the South African Revenue Service (SARS).

The three Gupta brothers, Atul, Ajay and Rajesh, came to South Africa in the early 1990s and built a commercial empire stretching from computers to mining and media.

KPMG received criticism regarding the "Sars Report" in which it was commissioned by the Sars to investigate allegations of a rogue unit allegedly set up by former finance minister, Pravin Gordhan, who was Sars commissioner at the time. It is due to elect a new party leader in December.

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