File image: Steinhoff office in Stellenbosch Cape Town South Africa. (Image: David Harrison). (Supplied).

JOHANNESBURG - South Africa's Independent Regulatory Board for Auditors said at the weekend it had written to parliament's finance committee on the status of its probe into an accounting scandal at retail group Steinhoff, which it said continued to be a priority despite constraints on the speed with which the investigation could be carried out.

The IRBA said in December it had initiated an investigation into Deloitte South Africa, auditors of Steinhoff whose share price collapsed after the company admitted to accounting irregularities.

“Since we attended the hearing into the Steinhoff matter in January 2018, we can confirm that we have commenced reviewing the Deloitte audit files of Steinhoff for the years 2014, 2015 and 2016," IRBA CEO Bernard Agulhas said.

“Our initial review of the audit files has identified some lines of further investigation which we are pursuing.”

At the time of the audits for 2014 and 2015, the local Steinhoff entity was the listed holding company with its primary listing on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange.  In 2016, the primary listing moved to the Netherlands, and therefore, the audit files for 2016 pertained  to Steinhoff Africa’s local subsidiaries.

"The IRBA has approximately 150 open investigations at any given time, which means that it has to carefully balance its limited resources to prioritise high public interest investigations," the regulator said.

- Africa News Agency (ANA)