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Wits ditches KPMG

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Wits ditches KPMG

Adam Habib discusses Wits' decision to cut ties with KPMG.

4th October 2017

By: Sane Dhlamini
Creamer Media Researcher and Writer

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The Council of the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) on Wednesday announced that it would not be renewing its contract with auditing firm KPMG for its internal auditing and risk management services.

Wits’ contract with KPMG is set to end this year said Vice-Chancellor Professor Adam Habib.

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KPMG recently came under fire for its relationship with Gupta-controlled companies and its handling of a KPMG authored report it commissioned into the so-called rogue unit at South African Revenue Services (Sars).

According to a statement issued by Wits, the decision to distance itself from the auditing firm was taken following a meeting the university held a few weeks ago with KPMG representatives and the university’s executive managers.

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Habib said the decision was made after long and hard deliberations.

He added that the university acknowledged that KPMG had taken some action against the CEO, COO and a number of senior partners to mitigate the reputational damage.  However, the firm had not gone far enough.

“It was not sufficiently transparent and it is hard to reconcile its conclusion that no one did anything illegal when senior individuals have been dismissed and the Sars report has been retracted. Given these considerations we felt that the University of the Witwatersrand could not continue its relationship with KPMG,” said Habib.

He went on to state that KPMG should have recognised and acknowledged its ethical and legal lapses and that it should have embarked on programmes to correct the wrongs it had done to individuals and institutions.

The statement further said that the Council believed that an independent investigation should have been initiated at the outset.

PricewaterhouseCoopers would remain as the university’s external auditors.

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