KPMG’s South Africa arm to stop offering “non-audit-related services”

PUBLISHED: Mon, 15 Feb 2021 12:01:44 GMT

JOHANNESBURG, Feb 15 (Reuters) – Global auditor KPMG’s South Africa arm will no longer offer “non-audit-related services” to companies listed in the country, the firm said on Monday, hoping to restore trust in its operations there.

KPMG has since 2017 faced criticism over work it did for a company owned by the Gupta family, who have faced accusations of using their links to former President Jacob Zuma to unduly influence government decisions and the awarding of tenders, and over the collapse of small lender VBS Mutual Bank.

Zuma and the Guptas have denied any wrongdoing.

A number of firms, including Barclays Africa and Sibanye-Stillwater, and the national government have stopped using KPMG.

KPMG said in a statement the decision applied to its audit clients listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE), and that it volunteered to stop offering non-audit-related services to prevent perceptions of conflicts of interest.

Non-audit-related services include consulting, business analysis, and legal or expert services unrelated to the audit.

“While this is an area that is typically already very well managed by audit committees, the objective of such a move is to help restore trust in the profession, as it removes any perception of conflicts of interest with our audit work for listed entities,” said KPMG chief executive Ignatius Sehoole. (Reporting by Mfuneko Toyana, Editing by Timothy Heritage)

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