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September 27, 2018

KPMG South Africa continues to lose staff and clients

By Joe Pickard

KPMG has continued to lose both clients and staff following the controversy surrounding the work the firm conducted for the Gupta family, according to reports from South Africa.

A team which is responsible for US cross-border transactions in Africa has quit due to a lack of workflow since the firm was allegedly involved with Gupta family corruption scandal last year which saw the family’s companies syphon public money to fund a family wedding, according to reports.

Dimension Data Holdings became the latest of a range of clients to leave the firm and has instead chose EY as its auditor.

The IT systems integrator and service provider’s chief financial officer Dave Sherriffs told Bloomberg: “In the light of recent incidents relating to KPMG South Africa, Dimension Data recently informed KPMG of its intention to terminate its services.”

Since the Gupta scandal first emerged last year, KPMG South Africa has seen its reputation tarnished, an exodus of staff, a ban from public sector auditing in South Africa, and the loss of Barclays Africa Group as its client, which is one of the largest banking groups in the region.

The severity of the reputational damage that KPMG has faced over the last year or so presents an uncertain future for the firm in South Africa. The South African Independent Regulatory Board chief executive Bernard Agulhas told IAB in August: “We do not know at this stage if KPMG will disappear completely, but certainly it has had to downscale; its operations clearly needed to downscale because it had lost quite a few clients and quite a few staff members.”

In KPMG South Africa’s Baseline Report 2018, KPMG South Africa CEO Nhlamulo Dlomu said: “It is important to highlight that we are, and will continue to be, a business of scale. Over the recent months we have had regrettable staff and client losses but the large majority of our clients have stayed with us.

“Similarly, although there has been increased levels of staff attrition, many of our colleagues have made the conscious decision to stay with KPMG South Africa because they want to play an active part in the future of the firm and to serve the wider business community.”

The International Accounting Bulletin approached KPMG for comment but did not receive a response by the time of publication.

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