September 19, 2017 / 10:45 AM / 2 years ago

Sasfin drops KPMG as corporate South Africa weighs links with auditor

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - South African brokerage house Sasfin Holdings on Tuesday fired KPMG as its auditor, citing “well-publicised concerns” about the accounting firm struggling to keep clients after flaws in its work for friends of President Jacob Zuma.

KPMG cleared out its South African leadership en masse on Friday after it found that work done for firms owned by the Gupta family “fell considerably short” of its standards. It found no evidence of crimes or corruption, however.

“In view of the well-publicised concerns recently raised with regard to KPMG as well as Sasfin’s commitment to good governance in respect of auditor independence and auditor tenure, Sasfin has decided to put its audit out to tender,” Sasfin said in a statement.

Sasfin’s decision comes as several South African blue-chips approached by Reuters, including Barclays Africa and Old Mutual, said they were considering whether to cut ties with one the biggest and most influential names in accounting.

KPMG is the third global firm to face questions about its work for the Indian-born Gupta brothers, who have has been accused by an anti-graft watchdog of unduly influencing the awarding of government contracts.

Consultants McKinsey is being investigated by South Africa’s parliamentary committee on public enterprises, while the British business of public relations agency Bell Pottinger collapsed last week following a scandal over a racially-charged political campaign it ran in South Africa..

The Guptas and Zuma deny wrongdoing and say they are victims of a politically motivated witch-hunt. The Guptas and their companies have not been charged with any crime.

Reporting by Tiisetso Motsoeneng and TJ Strydom; Editing by Louise Heavens and Mark Potter

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