Delay in hearing against two Deloitte partners
JOHANNESBURG -The final heads of argument in the disciplinary matter against two Deloitte partners for the audits of the failed unsecured lender African Bank have been confirmed for June 8 and 9 with the findings released in July, the The Independent Regulatory Board for Auditors (Irba) said in a statement on Tuesday.
The charges apply to Mgcinisihlalo Jordan, who is deputy chief executive and partner at Deloitte Africa, and Danie Crowther, a Deloitte partner with misconduct relating to the financial statements of African Bank and its then-parent company African Bank Investments Limited (Abil), which they signed off before these entities were placed under curatorship.
Deloitte had signed off on African Bank and Abil’s financial statements since 2010 and Irba alleges is that Deloitte’s audit of African Bank and Abil misstated the lender’s impairment of loans and provisioning of losses. the SA Reserve Bank placed African Bank under curatorship in 2014.
Meanwhile, Deloitte stands behind Jordan and Crowther, who have denied all the allegations, who said they were unfounded and there was no basis for the improper conduct charges brought by Irba.
The matter would have been heard this week, but which were postponed due lockdown requirements as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak, the organisation said.
Irba said it had taken two years for it to complete the investigation and another nine months to bring it to hearing, which commenced in March 2018.
"Since then more than 50 days were set down to hear the matter in its entirety. These closing arguments will precede the release of the disciplinary hearing panel’s findings on the matter which consists of ten charges," Irba said.
Bernard Agulhas, the chief executive of Irba, said: “The Irba has been supportive of government’s efforts to contain the lockdown and preparations are underway to reopen the Irba in accordance with restrictions on social distancing, and unless there is a further easing of restrictions, only the necessary number of representatives of the legal teams and required staff members will be present for final arguments.
"Even in these challenging times, it is necessary for regulators to fulfil their oversight roles and the Irba will take every precaution to safeguard the health and safety of all participants.”
Irba said the panel was expected to release its findings within 30 days of the final arguments in accordance with Section 51 (1) of the Auditing Profession Act 26 of 2005.
"In the event that there is a finding of improper conduct against the auditors there will a hearing for sentencing and imposition of sanctions, " it said.