By Staff Writer
Sygnia chief executive and South Africa’s richest woman Magda Wierzycka has ended the JSE-listed company’s relationship with KPMG over the Gupta links.
According to Mail & Guardian report published Friday, Sygnia fired KPMG over its alleged role in state capture.
The Guptas, a wealthy Indian family living in South Africa, are at the centre of state capture allegations.
The Gupta Leaks revealed that KPMG South Africa failed to raise alarms when businesses controlled by the Gupta family diverted about R30 million of public money to pay for a family wedding.
The Gupta Leaks also exposed KPMG for its role as the auditors of the Guptas’ Linkway Trading – from which cash from the state that was earmarked for the Gupta-linked Estina dairy project in the Free State was diverted to cover the expense of a lavish family wedding, said Mail & Guardian.
KPMG has been previously accused of bending the rules to satisfy its client, having issued a flagrantly misleading and biased report smearing then Minister of Finance, Pravin Gordhan, and implicating him in the alleged “rogue unit” within SARS.
On Thursday morning, Sygnia notified KPMG that it would terminate its services as external auditors, according to Mail & Guardian.
This followed a meeting between the parties on Tuesday, in which Sygnia asked hard questions of KPMG about its business with the Gupta family to ascertain how it could have missed “a big money-laundering exercise”.
“The meeting didn’t dispel, in my mind, the perception that adequate oversight was not exercised,” Wierzycka told the Mail & Guardian.
She stressed, however, that the move was in no way a reflection on the KPMG audit team that had served Sygnia.
Following the meeting, Wierzycka said Sygnia believed there remained many unanswered questions on KPMG’s relationship with the Gupta-related businesses.
For more read: JSE-listed Sygnia fires KPMG over ‘Gupta links’