Auditors’ body says it will continue probe into three VBS suspects

Eight suspects accused of looting the VBS Bank appear at Palm Ridge Specialised Commercial Crimes Court in Johannesburg, on 18 June 2020. They were each granted R100, 000 bail. Picture: Nigel Sibanda

Agulhas said it was not necessary for the IRBA to pause its investigation amid the arrest of eight people accused of looting the bank.

The Independent Regulatory Board for Auditors (IRBA) confirmed on Friday it investigated three auditors in the VBS Mutual Bank scheme, issuing draft charge sheets and sanctions to them.

According to Bernard Agulhas, the CEO of the IRBA, two others were still in communication with the board about the charges.

Agulhas said it was not necessary for the IRBA to pause its investigation amid the arrest of eight people accused of looting the bank, adding it would carry out the investigation to its conclusion.

“In November 2019, the investigating committee issued draft charge sheets and proposed sanctions to the three respondents.

Charges

“The EQCR [engagement quality control review] partner on the audit has accepted the charges and sanctions and this matter is close to finalisation,” he said.

“The other two respondents are still engaging the IRBA on the charges and these matters are therefore ongoing.”

The remaining two respondents were no longer registered with the IRBA, but this did not impact on the investigation, Agulhas added.

Fin24 previously reported the IRBA had issued an investigation letter in 2018 to Sipho Malaba, KPMG’s lead audit partner for VBS.

It notified him of a probe into KPMG’s audit of the bank, then under curatorship.

Business Insider reported KPMG had suspended Malaba in 2018 as he was responsible for signing off on VBS’ financial statements.

On Thursday, seven men, including Malaba, appeared in the Palm Ridge Magistrate’s Court and bail was set at R100,000 for each of them.

They are accused of stealing R2.2 million from VBS.

All have pleaded not guilty.

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