KPMG makes charity pledge and CEO offers unmitigated apology in its own scandal with South Africa's Oakbay

KPMG has offered to make millions of pounds worth of charity donations as the boss of its South African business resigned following an internal investigation into its work with Oakbay, the controversial client who has led to the downfall of Bell Pottinger.

KPMG announced today that it had concluded an investigation into its longstanding work for the Gupta family, the owners of the Oakbay conglomerate, and a project for the South African Revenue Service (SARS).

It said it had found no evidence of "illegal behaviour or corruption by KPMG partners or staff", but that work had fallen "considerably short of KPMG’s standards".

As a result, KPMG South Africa CEO Trevor Hoole and chief operating officer Stehen Louw have stpped down, with Hoole saying: "I absolutely understand that ultimate responsibility lies with me."

This contrasts notably with the tone of the resignation statement from James Henderson upon resigning at Bell Pottinger CEO, which noted that he "neither initiated nor was involved in the Oakbay work", and felt "deeply let down by the colleagues who misled me".

In addition, KPMG has, apparently at the behest of new South Africa CEO, announced that it would donate R40m ($3m) to not-for-profits in the education and anti-corruption sectors. This is equal to the total fees earned from 15 years of auditing the Guptas accounts. It has also offered to either repay its R23m ($1.8m) fee to SARS, or give that amount to charity.

A UK Government spokesman said, before the agency collapsed, that Bell Pottinger should consider paying profits from its Oakbay work to charity - this has been a longstanding demand of the Democratic Alliance, the South African political party that helped bring Bell Pottinger's actions to light.

KPMG is not believed to have had any links to Bell Pottinger's now notorious racially-divisive campaign work for Oakbay.

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Already registered?
Sign in