October 4, 2017 / 6:32 AM / 2 years ago

South Africa's Wits University drops KPMG as auditor

FILE PHOTO: The KPMG logo is seen at the company's head offices in Parktown, Johannesburg, South Africa, September 15, 2017. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko/File Photo

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - South Africa’s University of the Witwatersrand (Wits), is dropping KPMG [KPMG.UL] as its auditor after a scandal about the firm’s work for businessmen friends of President Jacob Zuma, it said on Wednesday.

KPMG has been dropped by at least three companies listed in Johannesburg and big banks such as Barclays Africa BGAJ.J and Standard Bank (SBKJ.J) are also considering whether they should drop the firm.

“It was agreed that KPMG had not been sufficiently transparent and that it is hard to reconcile KPMG’s conclusion that no one did anything illegal when senior individuals have been dismissed,” Wits Vice-Chancellor Adam Habib said in a statement.

KPMG’s new local management will appear before lawmakers on October 5, the firm said on Wednesday.

KMPG sacked a number of South African executives last month after it found work undertaken for companies owned by the Gupta family - a trio of Indian-born businessmen with close ties to Zuma - “fell considerably short” of its standards.

The firm, which is under investigation by South Africa’s Independent Regulatory Board for Auditors, also said on Wednesday it was cooperating with the regulator and had complied with requests for documents.

KPMG will give details of another inquiry, this one initiated by KPMG International, on October 12, it said.

“The Inquiry will be fully independent and the panel will be led by two experienced senior counsels,” KPMG South Africa Chief Executive Nhlamu Dlomu said in a statement.

Zuma and the Guptas have denied any wrongdoing.

Reporting by Mfuneko Toyana; Editing by Ed Cropley, Greg Mahlich

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