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Accused CA Newsome appointed at SAA

Despite being faced with a Saica disciplinary hearing.
Picture: Shutterstock

South African Airways (SAA) has confirmed that chartered accountant Robert Newsome, who is facing charges of failure to declare a conflict of interest in relation to an SAA matter, was appointed acting head of risk and compliance at the embattled airline at the beginning of this month.

Read: The biscuit maker, the big shot auditor and the SAA cover-up

In a disciplinary hearing last week, the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (Saica) asked the independent panel to find Newsome guilty and suspend his membership for five years. Saica also asked for Newsome to contribute R100 000 to its legal costs if found guilty.

SAA has been reporting huge losses and the newly-appointed board and CEO are tasked with turning around not only the finances, but also governance. In that scenario the head of risk and compliance would presumably play a crucial role.

Newsome at the start of the hearing disclosed his role at SAA and added that it is “totally unrelated” to the matter before Saica.

He has been charged after a complaint by Simon Mantell, CEO of biscuit manufacturer Mantelli’s, but has pleaded not guilty.

Newsome’s alleged failure to declare a conflict or perceived conflict of interest stems from his appointment as a director of Outsourced Risk and Compliance Assessment (ORCA) while chairing a disciplinary committee of the Institute of Internal Auditors of South Africa (IIA SA).

The committee at the time dealt with a complaint against the internal audit executive of SAA Siya Vilakazi after ORCA quality assessed the division Vilakazi headed, including his review of a tender for dry snacks that SAA subsidiary Air Chefs issued.

Vilakazi thereafter issued a glowing letter praising Orca for the work it did and informing it that it had been added to the SAA supplier database. At the time Newsome joined ORCA, SAA subsidiary Mango was its biggest client.

The part of the tender which Vilakazi reviewed, pertaining to savoury biscuits was first awarded to Mantelli’s but the award was subsequently withdrawn.

Vilakazi found that the conduct compliant with the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA), which was later contradicted by scathing findings by National Treasury.

On the basis of this contradiction Mantell laid a complaint against Vilakazi at the IIA SA. Despite the fact that Vilakazi initially admitted to the failure of obtaining a legal opinion before finding the tender award to Mantelli was not legally binding (the only charge formulated against him), Newsome suggested the disciplinary committee get an affidavit on the matter. On the basis of the affidavit, but without seeing it at the time, the committee dismissed the complaint due to lack of evidence.

Newsome at the hearing said the review of SAA’s internal audit division was done long before he joined the firm and he denied any real or perceived conflict of interest.

The Saica disciplinary committee last week reserved judgment.

Newsome is a director of the IIA SA and a former director of PwC. He also earlier served on the Independent Regulatory Board of Auditors and represented the industry on international structures dealing with ethics.

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More lateral moves within a corrupt organization. Can you imagine that??? SELL IT OFF !!

still left with the huge debt, nothing changes…

They cannot sell it off. Probably half the families of the ANC and their buddies, are employed there.

Why would you do this, why would you appoint someone under investigation into a audit and compliance role. This is why government organizations are lost at sea, just zero logic in their management

This is the sad case of democracy in South Africa. The majority who receive more from the state than what they contribute in taxes, makes the laws to fleece the small minority who contribute more in taxes than what they receive from the state.

The corruption at SAA as well as all SOE;s is the inevitable consequence of ANC policy. Government policy is a license to loot or legalized theft. This is the logical consequence when someone who has got nothing to lose receives the power to make laws. He will abuse that power to steal from those who do have something to lose.

“When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men in a society, over the course of time they create for themselves a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that glorifies it.”

― Frédéric Bastiat

So will Pravin step in, and, in need suspend Newsome if he concludes that the charges are legitimate. Government needs to re-establish ethical and honest behavior in all SoE’s soonest and start criminalising historical crooks

Two things you must trust… 1. CA (SA) and 2. their spreadsheets!


So much for Gordhan’s new dawn….

End of comments.





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