KPMG saga reminds us that graft can hide everywhere
Corruption is not solely confined to government offices … and big firms can give a veneer of respectability to all sorts of criminality.
A recycler drags his trolley past the KPMG offices on Empire Road in Johannesburg on 15 September 2017. Picture: Yeshiel Panchia
The sad part of the announcement by global auditing firm KPMG that it will be scaling back its operations in South Africa, and retrenching 400 people, is that the bigwigs who caused its disastrous fall from grace will probably bounce back from it, while other lesser-paid employees will be unemployed and struggling.
The firm’s restructuring follows mass desertions by clients in the wake of the unsavoury revelations about KPMG’s dealings with, and around, the Guptas and state capture.
Apart from dodgy audit reports on Gupta-linked companies, KPMG was also responsible for the shameful hatchet job that was its report on the “rogue unit” within the SA Revenue Service. It is no wonder, then, that many of its clients have jumped ship. The one thing you need to have in any business is a trustworthy firm of accountants whose integrity is beyond doubt.
The woes of KPMG are a reminder, too, that corruption is not solely confined to government offices … and that big firms can be used to give a veneer of respectability to all sorts of criminality.
Hopefully, the saga provokes a bout of soul-searching among the entire accounting fraternity and reminds them that, as financial gatekeepers, they should all be beyond reproach.