Finance Minister Tito Mboweni. File photo
Finance Minister Tito Mboweni. File photo

Minister Mboweni to meet IRBA to discuss concerns over new CEO's appointment

By ANA Reporter Time of article published May 30, 2020

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PRETORIA - Finance Minister Tito Mboweni will hold discussions with the Independent Regulatory Board for Auditors (IRBA) to consider concerns raised about the appointment of Jenitha John as the IRBA's new CEO.

Mboweni had noted concerns raised by various organisations in respect of the appointment John as the new CEO, the finance ministry said in a statement.

"It should be noted that the power to appoint the CEO in this instance resides solely with the board of directors (BoD) of IRBA, in terms of section 9 of the Auditing Profession Act of 2005. The outgoing board oversaw the entire process and notified the minister of finance after making the appointment, as the minister has no statutory role in the employment of IRBA’s CEO.

"However, to ensure the integrity of IRBA, which is a critical regulatory agency for the audit profession, the minister will hold discussions with the BoD to consider the concerns raised."

If any impropriety was found, the minister would request the BoD to review the appointment of John subject to the required due processes. The minister strongly believed that the IRBA was a critical regulator in which the market placed reliance on the auditing and ethical standards that the IRBA developed, maintained, and enforced, the ministry said.

“That is why I expect the BoD of IRBA to properly and fully play its role without fear, favour, or prejudice in enforcing the highest professional standards in the auditing profession,” Mboweni said in the statement.

The IRBA announced on April 28 that John, a former FirstRand executive, would take over from Bernard Agulhas who had been CEO since 2008.

According to media reports, the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) and the Democratic Alliance are among those who have raised concerns that her previous role in Tongaat Hulett made her unfit to oversee the IRBA.

The IRBA started an investigation into Deloitte’s work in Tongaat Hulett last year after a forensic report by PwC ordered by the board "into suspect activities has implicated the group’s uncovered serious accounting irregularities by some executives previously employed by the sugar producer", fin24 reported.

John was on the Tongaat Hulett board from 2007 till May last year and chaired the company's audit and compliance committee. She resigned around the time when Tongaat Hulett warned shareholders that it needed to restate its financial statements for the year to March 2018.

The DA and Outa said there was a conflict of interest in John’s appointment as IRBA CEO,  given that the regulator was investigating Tongaat Hulett, fin24 reported.

- African News Agency (ANA) 

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