File picture: Siphiwe Sibeko/REUTERS
The Independent Regulatory Board of Auditors investigation into KPMG’s role in the Gupta state capture allegations could take about 18 months to complete.

This was confirmed by IRBA spokesperson Lorraine van Schalkwyk on Friday after Independent Media asked the board whether formal charges had been laid against one of KPMG’s former auditors.

Johan van der Walt, according to KPMG’s own admission, was the author of a report which alleges that former finance minister Pravin Gordhan knew about a “rogue unit” within the SA Revenue Services while national commissioner.

In his disputed report, Van der Walt said the establishment of the “rogue unit” which was, he said, spying on certain individuals within Sars, was in contravention of the law.

Last month, the auditing firm distanced itself from the report. This after it had been established within the firm that its compilation may have been influenced by the Guptas, who are accused of having captured various state organs.

This prompted the board to serve Van der Walt with a notice to investigate him on charges of professional misconduct by a registered auditor on October 5. At the time, Irba boss Bernard Agulhas asked Van der Walt to provide the regulatory body with information that would be relevant to their investigation.

Van Schalkwyk said its investigation was still ongoing but did not reveal details of preferred charges against Van der Walt.

“The Irba will always follow due process on all matters and it does not discuss the detail or progress of matters. It is ultimately a decision of either the Disciplinary Advisory Committee or the Disciplinary Committee to determine the details of publication to be made concerning a finalised matter. In this regard we refer you to section 51(5) of the Auditing Profession Act."

According to the code, Van der Walt had 30 days since the notice was served on him to provide its investigate committee with reasons.

The Investigating Committee, after completing its investigations, would then forward its recommendation to the Disciplinary Advisory Committee, which would, upon receiving the recommendations, decide on Van der Walt’s fate.

The committee would then recommend to Agulhas to charge Van der Walt including details of those charges.

The disciplinary code, however, says public disclosures on the matter would only be done after the completion of the hearing if a decision to charge and prosecute Van der Walt was agreed on by the board of the regulatory body.

According to Van Schalkwyk, the process would take 18 months to complete.

Meanwhile, KPMG has indicated its willingness to co-operate with the Irba. This came after Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa admitted that Van der Walt’s report had violated Gordhan’s rights to dignity. Ramaphosa wants Treasury to formally apologise to Gordhan.

He made the motion when responding to questions in Parliament on Thursday.

Saturday Star