Picture: David Ritchie/ANA
JOHANNESBURG - The University of Witwatersrand said yesterday that its council had resolved not to renew contracts with KPMG South Africa for internal auditing and risk management services.

The contracts lapse at the end of the 2017 financial year.

The Wits move is a fresh blow against the embattled audit firm, which continues to lose clients over its controversial report on a “rogue spy unit” within the SA Revenue Service (Sars), and also being implicated in covering money laundering in Gupta-owned businesses.

When the scandal surfaced, KPMG SA fired its senior partners, including former chief executive Trevor Hoole, chairperson Ahmed Jaffer and chief operating officer Steven Louw. The firm appointed Nhlamu Dlomu as its new chief executive.

Wits said the decision was taken after a meeting with Dlomu and the KPMG’s international representatives and members of the university council’s audit and risk committees.

Complicity

Wits said the committees acknowledged that KPMG did take some actions, including releasing the chief executive, chief operating officer and a number of senior partners to mitigate reputational damage suffered as a result of its relationship with the Gupta-owned companies and its complicity in the Sars report, but felt it had not gone far enough.

“Further, it was agreed that KPMG had not been sufficiently transparent and it is hard to reconcile KPMG’s conclusion that no one did anything illegal when senior individuals have been dismissed and the Sars report retracted,” Wits spokesperson Erna van Wyk said.

“In these circumstances, the council believes that it would have been prudent to acknowledge the ethical and legal lapses of KPMG’s senior management team.

“The council also believes that an independent investigation should have been initiated at the outset.”

Van Wyk said audit firm PwC would remain the university’s external auditors.

-BUSINESS REPORT