Finance Minister Tito Mboweni has dissolved the entire board of the Independent Regulatory Board for Auditors (Irba), the finance ministry announced on Thursday.
The statement says Mboweni met with the Irba board of directors on 26 January, to be briefed on the position the board had taken in the appointment last year of Jenitha John as CEO, a position she assumed in June last year.
John’s appointment as CEO of Irba was heavily criticised at the time, as she had been head of the Audit and Compliance Committee at Tongaat Hulett when the group was involved in financial reporting irregularities.
Tongaat had to write off capital and restate billions of rands worth of revenue in 2019, after previous management was found to be fudging the figures.
The finance ministry statement says that after meeting with the Irba board this week, Mboweni then engaged the directors over the dissolution of the board.
It was an open secret that the Irba board was in disarray after John’s appointment, with several board members resigning in recent months.
Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) raised concerns about John’s appointment last year, and the fact that a CEO charged with safeguarding the integrity of the audit profession may herself come under Irba scrutiny for her role at Tongaat.
“This put Irba in the peculiar situation where it may have to investigate its own CEO,” said Outa CEO Wayne Duvenage.
“Our concern has always been that Irba chose to bring in someone as a CEO who had too many unanswered questions around her.”
Sources in the accounting profession say John, who stays on as CEO of Irba, has been making good progress in cleaning up the audit profession, but has been stymied by a fractious board.
This article first appeared on Moneyweb and was republished with permission.
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