The South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (Saica) confirmed in a media statement on Wednesday (January 5) that it will investigate all members implicated in the Zondo Commission Report on State Capture.
It is to be noted that Saica has various categories of membership: chartered accountant CA(SA), associate general accountant AGA (SA), and accounting technician AT (SA).
Part 1 of the Judicial Commission of Inquiry into allegations of State Capture, Corruption and Fraud in the Public Sector including Organs of State (the Zondo Commission Report) was released by the Presidency on January 4.
Saica “notes the recommendations contained in the report [paragraph 1116] relating to a Saica member and former SAA Board member Ms. Yakhe Kwinana who appeared in front of the Zondo Commission of Inquiry”.
The institute confirmed that it has commenced an investigation into the allegations against Kwinana following the ensuing media reports after she appeared in front of the Zondo Commission in November 2020.
In Saica’s revised by-laws, which came into effect on 1 June 2020, Kwinana has been given an opportunity to make representations to the organisation.
Saica said that it has not received any response from Kwinana, and is unable to comment further on the ongoing investigation at this stage.
“The chartered accountancy profession is undergoing a period of profound reflection encompassing debates on how to maintain professional independence as evidenced by Saica’s recent revisions to the Institute’s by-laws which include enhancements to the disciplinary process. What we can all agree on, is that adherence to the highest standards of ethical conduct, professional integrity and avoidance of conflict of interest must remain the bedrock of the accountancy profession,” Saica CEO Freeman Nomvalo said in the statement.
“Saica expects all its members to uphold these values in all professional circumstances. All members who are found to have contravened Saica’s Code of Professional Conduct [the Code], will be held accountable without fear or favour including all members mentioned in the comprehensive Zondo Commission Report when all three parts have been released,” Nomvalo added.
Saica stressed that it will take all allegations against individual members seriously, and is currently investigating this matter. The initial investigation phase, in which Saica gathers factual evidence, testimony and conducts relevant due diligence, is confidential.
“In the interest of procedural fairness and as prescribed in the Saica by-laws, Saica cannot comment publicly, either in traditional media or on social media, on any member who is the subject of an investigation during this phase, unless otherwise provided for under the by-laws,” it said.
“This protects the reputation of the individual members involved [who may well be innocent] and also safeguards third parties who may be mentioned in a complaint but who have no opportunity, as non-members of Saica, to explain themselves during the Institute’s disciplinary process.”
Saica confirmed that once an investigation is concluded and there is sufficient evidence to suggest that a member may have breached the Code, that member will then be charged under the relevant section of the Code.
Once a member is charged, and if the Saica CEO deems it appropriate, the process will become public.
The Saica by-laws provide the member with an opportunity to then appear before an independent committee (either the professional conduct committee or the disciplinary committee), chaired by a senior lawyer, generally an advocate or a retired judge.
“All cases before the disciplinary committee are open to the public unless the independent chair finds there are extraordinary circumstances, requiring the case to be heard in camera [private]. The findings of these committees are also published where there is a guilty finding,” the institute noted.
Details of past cases, findings and pending hearings can be found by clicking on the following link: https://www.saica.org.za/about/general/governance-structure-and-disciplinary-process