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KPMG fights to save reputation after controversial empire business audit

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International audit company KPMG is frantically trying to salvage its reputation in South Africa. And it’s proving hard work, reports say.

The top management has already been cleared out, and an independent investigation launched, but clients are still jumping ship.

South Africa’s parliament has become the latest to sever ties, citing “the damage to the reputation and credibility” of KPMG. Other firms, like McKinsey and Bell Pottinger, have also been caught up in what some believe may prove to be the defining scandal of democratic South Africa.

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Leaked emails and multiple investigations have fuelled allegations of massive corruption involving senior government officials and businessmen, conspiring to control and loot state institutions. But the criminal justice system seems to be dragging its feet, and, with popular anger growing, foreign companies are being targeted, for enabling the alleged corruption.

In KPMG’s case it audited the books of the controversial Gupta family’s business empire – closely linked to President Jacob Zuma. And it became caught up in a murky struggle for control of South Africa’s Revenue Service.

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For years there’s been good money to be made advising and auditing South Africa’s government ministries and para-statals. But international companies may start treading more warily as the country struggles to shake off a growing reputation for corruption.

 

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