KPMG announces who will get its Gupta earnings

Auditing firm KPMG has pledged to distribute its R47-million in Gupta-related earnings to civil society organisations.

In a statement released on Monday, KPMG said it will be distributing the money it earned in fees from Gupta-related entities to civil society organisations promoting “ethical leadership and accountable governance, and to non-profit organisations in the education sector”.

In September, the auditing firm said it would pay back the money to non-governmental organisations with a focus on education and anti-corruption after the depth of its association with the controversial Gupta family emerged through an internal investigation.

According to Monday’s statement, R23-million is being given to Democracy Works Foundation, the Social Justice Initiative and the National Business Initiative.

KPMG has shortlisted 52 non-profit organisations working in the education sector to receive the rest of the money.

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According to the statement, this process will be overseen by an independent evaluation committee of education experts, civil society and youth leaders, which assessed the over 1 000 applications KPMG received. This process should be concluded by mid-December.

“Funding is being targeted at organisations working in areas such as literacy, early childhood development and cradle-to-career programmes, programmes tackling systemic issues in the education sector, as well as those that ensure the well-being of learners,” the statement reads.

KPMG executive chairman Professor Wiseman Nkuhlu said: “The funding is an important step in ensuring redress for the actions of the past. We appreciate the inputs that civil society organisations have made into this process, and the broader role they are playing in addressing corruption in business and society.”

KPMG’s role in state capture was called into question after its audit of a Gupta-linked entity through which state funds were laundered and for penning of a report for the South African Revenue Service (Sars) that was used in a bid to oust Sars employees and then finance minister Pravin Gordhan.

Reports also emerged that the troubled firm allegedly looked the other way when a Gupta company, Linkway Trading, produced statements saying that the infamous Sun City wedding was a business expense. The R26.3-million spent on the “wedding function organisation” represented 55% of the company’s total revenue.

READ MORE: KPMG comes clean but the dirt sticks

KPMG was responsible for auditing Linkway’s books at the time.

Former KPMG auditor Jacques Wessels, who audited Linkway Trading accounts, was charged by the Independent Regulatory Board of Auditors (IRBA) for improper conduct and tax evasion in July.

READ MORE: Gupta wedding under scrutiny as IRBA wraps up disciplinary of ex-KPMG auditor

At the time of the IRBA’s investigation, KPMG conceded in a statement: “The controversy around the industry has undermined public confidence and this needs to be restored through thoughtful and constructive measures.”

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Sarah Smit
Sarah Smit
Sarah Smit is a general news reporter at the Mail & Guardian. She covers topics relating to labour, corruption and the law.

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