The Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution said it had filed a complaint against the auditing firm SizweNtsalubaGobodo as a matter of principle and not because Vusi Pikoli, a former employee of the firm, was a member of its advisory council.
Casac executive secretary Lawson Naidoo said he had filed the complaint with the Independent Regulatory Board for Auditors (IRBA) on Friday last week following an interview published in the Mail & Guardian in which Pikoli stated he was asked to leave the firm after pressure from “people” in the ANC.
In a statement released on May 25, Casac said the firm’s alleged behaviour demonstrated an abuse of “executive and political authority as well as compromising the integrity, independence and objectivity of an auditing firm”. Such behaviour “would point to a transgression of the rules governing improper conduct and code of professional conduct for registered auditors as set out by the IRBA. Auditors have a responsibility to act in the public interest and not just in the interest of their clients.”
Naidoo said he had discussed the complaint with Pikoli only after he had filed it and added that he had received an acknowledgement of the complaint from the board.
Last week, Pikoli told the M&G that his employers at the firm had asked him to resign because “some ANC people” threatened to cut off further government contracts. He said he did “tell the company that if I resigned, I would be unable to lie about the reasons for leaving. I warned them that it is not the business of the government to tell them who to employ and who not [to].”
Pikoli said he was asked to leave soon after the company landed a contract with Transnet, which was announced by Minister of Public Enterprises Malusi Gigaba on February 20. Barely a week later, he was paid six months’ salary and asked to leave immediately.
“This problem of yours with the ANC”, as the firm’s chairperson, Nonkululeko Gobodo, was alleged to have put it, dates back to 2007 when Pikoli, then the national director public prosecutions, was suspended by then-president Thabo Mbeki in a bid to protect his police commissioner, Jackie Selebi. Kgalema Motlanthe fired Pikoli during his term as president after Mbeki was recalled.