Ex-KPMG South Africa Boss Quits New Role to Face Gupta ClaimsBy
Time demands would deflect from role as Alexander Forbes head
KPMG cooperates with probe into transactions for Gupta wedding
Moses Kgosana, who was due to take the role of Alexander Forbes Group Holdings Ltd. chairman from the end of August, withdrew from the position after allegations emerged related to his tenure as chief executive officer and senior partner at KPMG South Africa.
KPMG South Africa failed to raise alarms when businesses controlled by the Gupta family, who are friends of President Jacob Zuma and in business with one of his sons, diverted the equivalent of $3.3 million of public money to pay for a family wedding, according to emailed communication. The audit firm has said it never condoned money laundering and will cooperate fully with the Independent Regulatory Board for Auditors in their investigation.
“Kgosana felt that the demands on his time in the role of chairman of the company whilst attending to these allegations, will interfere with his deliverable expectations,” Johannesburg-based Alexander Forbes said in a statement on Monday. Chairman Sello Moloko will remain in the position in the interim. Kgosana had served on the board of the provider of retirement, investment and insurance services for the past two years, it said.
KPMG was aware that the family’s companies were categorizing the wedding costs as business expenses, meaning they wouldn’t have to pay tax on them, according to the emails. The papers are part of a trove of documents known as the Gupta Leaks, and the amaBhungane Centre for Investigative Journalism posted them on its website on June 30 with an account of the events. Bloomberg couldn’t independently verify the information.
Kgosana said last week that the auditor hadn’t known about the payments.
The unfolding scandal of how the Gupta family used its closeness with Zuma to win billions of rand worth of contracts from state-owned companies and influence government appointments and decisions has led to challenges to the president’s leadership -- including failed no-confidence votes -- and has weakened the currency. It has also split the governing African National Congress, which is holding a party policy conference in Johannesburg that ends on Wednesday. The Guptas and Zuma have denied any wrongdoing.