Ntsebeza Inquiry enters next phase
The “Ntsebeza Inquiry”, established by the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA) on 2 November 2017 with the aim of independently investigating allegations against some of its members employed by KPMG, is in full swing.
The Inquiry Panel, which is chaired by Advocate Dumisa Ntsebeza SC, has appointed two evidence leaders to assist it in the execution of its duties. Advocate Pule Seleka SC and Advocate Amaechi Olua will, in addition to coordinating information across various submissions received, lead the process of questioning witnesses and those implicated in the submissions.
Adv. Ntsebeza SC says that the submissions received by the Inquiry are diverse, some are in a similar vein, but many are completely unrelated to each other and are also significant in magnitude. “In the process of working through the extensive submissions, it has become clear to us that we require additional information in some instances and have requested for and are awaiting the further information required”, says Adv. Ntsebeza SC.
The panel has scheduled its first public meeting for 19th February 2018 where it is expected to deal with issues of confidentiality and privilege. It has also requested the SAICA leadership to outline the requirements of its Code of Professional Conduct as related to its members in regard to this matter, which is the yardstick the Panel will use to assess whether it should recommend that SAICA ought to take action against any of its implicated members. It is noted that SAICA has recently updated its Code of Professional Conduct to include the requirements of the international Non-Compliance with Laws and Regulations (NOCLAR) ethics framework.
The Panel has communicated with everyone from whom it has received submissions and informed them of the intention to call them as witnesses before the Inquiry. Adv. Ntsebeza SC says that the Panel’s intention is to identify all SAICA members who should be questioned based on their involvement in the engagements mentioned in the submissions received, but are dependent on those names being supplied to it by, inter alia, KPMG.
“In some cases we are still awaiting final reports”, says Adv. Ntsebeza SC. “We naturally would like to avoid a situation where conclusions are made based on published reports that are not factually correct”.
Adv. Ntsebeza SC says that it is important to understand that the Inquiry’s conclusions could have a profound impact on people’s lives and careers. “It is therefore important that we do not act with reckless haste, only to regret such actions at a later stage”. Adv. Ntsebeza SC indicated that the Panel is concerned that the mammoth task may not be fully completed by the end of April 2018 as anticipated. “Our initial timelines were based on guestimates, however we are still committed to conclude our activities as early as possible. Our task is to identify the factual truth, and not to act as prosecutors or pronounce on guilt”, he concluded.
MMMG Attorneys Inc.
Ms Tebogo Motsai
010 590 5727