The Ntsebeza Inquiry moving into hearings phase
ISSUED ON BEHALF OF THE NTSEBEZA INQUIRY
Johannesburg, 31 January 2018 - The Ntsebeza Inquiry established by the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA), with the aim of independently investigating allegations that some of its members employed by KPMG allegedly engaged in conduct in contravention of the SAICA Code of Professional Conduct, is entering the next phase of its investigation.
After its call for submissions, the panel, which is chaired by Advocate Dumisa Ntsebeza SC, made the decision to extend the submission period in response to requests for an extension from various parties. Some asserted that the submission period was too short for them to submit meaningful statements to the panel. “We felt that it would be beneficial to the investigation to have all the facts that we could gather, rather than creating an insurmountable barrier as a result of a timeline set based on an estimation”, said Adv Ntsebeza SC.
Advocate Dumisa Ntsebeza SC says he is confident that now that the panel has combed through the voluminous submissions, it is ready to start the hearings. “We believe that 19th February 2018 is a fair start date as it will give those who we will call in to state their case, as well as the evidence leader, enough time to prepare”.
The Chairperson further stated that it is important that both witnesses and respondents are given an opportunity to defend their statements and positions. “We want to ensure that the process is fair and that we are able to hand SAICA a report that is as comprehensive as possible, and with findings that are defensible. We understand that members of the public would want to see swift action in this highly emotive matter, but it is important that we do not fall prey to hasty judgments that may prejudice individuals”, he said.
The panel will systematically work through the different cases drawn from the submissions. In some instances the panel received multiple submissions on the same matter. Adv Ntsebeza SC says that hearings will start on the SARS matter first. KPMG had on its own volition withdrawn their SARS report, further fanning allegations that the report was flawed. The Inquiry intends to determine whether there is evidence that the SAICA members, involved in the investigation that led to the KPMG report, had breached SAICA’s Code Professional of Conduct.
The Inquiry will first give those who lodged complaints with the panel an opportunity to state their case. Thereafter the implicated SAICA members will be given an opportunity to respond. “We naturally hope that we will be able to confine the hearings within our timeline, but have to give individuals the opportunity to cross examine where appropriate”, says Adv Ntsebeza SC. This could add to the time allocated to the panel to conclude its investigation. Adv Ntsebeza SC has committed to keep the public appraised of the panel’s progress.
The panel wishes to thank members of the public as well as organisations who have assisted it thus far.
MMMG Attorneys Inc.
Ms Tebogo Motsai
010 590 5727