Ajay and Atul Gupta File photo: Independent Media

KPMG LLP’s South African office suspended its lead audit-engagement partner and “relieved” two others pending the result of its investigation of the work that the firm did for companies linked to the Gupta family, whose members are friends with President Jacob Zuma. 

KPMG resigned as auditor for the family’s businesses in March 2016 “and should have stopped working for the Gupta companies sooner than we did,” Trevor Hoole, the chief executive of the firm’s office in South Africa, said on Friday. KPMG South Africa failed to raise alarms when businesses controlled by the Gupta family diverted the equivalent of R30million of public money to pay for a family wedding, according to e-mailed communication. 

The papers are part of a trove of documents known as the Gupta Leaks, which the amaBhungane Centre for Investigative Journalism has access to and has based stories on. The unfolding scandal of how the Gupta family used its closeness with Zuma to win billions of rand worth of contracts from state-owned companies and influence government appointments and decisions has led to challenges to the president’s leadership and has weakened the currency. All aspects of KPMG South Africa’s work related to the Gupta group “is being robustly reviewed,” Hoole said.