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JOHANNESBURG - Global auditor KPMG said on Monday it will lay off 400 people as it closes offices in South Africa following a corruption scandal that resulted in the firm losing several major clients.

“These hard decisions were necessary to put the firm on a more sustainable footing, while ensuring we continue to offer our clients the best service and support,” Nhlamulo Dlomu, chief executive of KPMG South Africa, said in a statement.

KPMG has been under close scrutiny since 2017 over work done for a company owned by the Gupta family — who have been accused of using their links to former president Jacob Zuma to influence government decisions.

News broke on Friday last week that Saica would also break its audit links with KPMG.

The South African Institute of Chartered Accountants’ (Saica) board had accepted their auditor’s KPMG offer to resign as Saica’s external auditors, citing possible perceived independence concerns if they were to perform the 2018 audit as a result of the current Saica-appointed Ntsebeza inquiry.

The inquiry has been looking into some of the former and current KPMG-employed chartered accountants, around allegations linked to the Guptas.

The inquiry should be concluded by the end of this month. Saica said it will begin a tender process to appoint external auditors and its board will table a progress report on this process to its members at the Annual General Meeting on June 26.


-REUTERS