Mboweni to discuss concerns raised about new IRBA CEO’s appointment

Finance Minister, Tito Mboweni says he is going to discuss concerns over the appointment of the new auditing watchdog CEO with its board. And if the concerns are legit, Jenitha John’s appointment may be reviewed.

In April the Independent Regulatory Board for Auditors (IRBA) announced that former FirstRand executive, John will replace Bernard Agulhas who has been at the board’s helm since 2008.

John is due to take over the reign on 1 June but her appointment appeared to have raffled some feathers. Civil society group, the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (OUTA) and the Democratic Alliance (DA) are among those who raised concerns that her previous role in  role in Tongaat Hulett made her unfit to oversee the body that is supposed to be a custodian of good auditing practises in the country.

The IRBA started investigation into Deloitte’s work in Tongaat Hulett last year after a forencic report by PwC forensic report ordered by the board into suspect activities has implicated the group’s uncovered serious accounting irregularities by some executives previously employed by the sugar producer.

John sat in the Tongaat Hulett board from 2007 till May 2019 and chaired the company’s audit and compliance committee. She resigned around the time when Tongaat Hulett warned shareholders that it needs to restate its financial statements for the year to March 2018.

The OUTA and DA both wrote to Mboweni, requesting an investigating into John’s appointment. The detractors pointed out that there was a conflict of interest in John’s appointment at IRBA given that the regulator is investigating Tongaat Hulett.

In a statement published on Friday night, Mboweni said he will discuss her appointment with the IRBA board to ensure the integrity of the watchdog.

“If any impropriety is found, the Minister will request the Board of Directors to review the appointment of Ms Jenitha John subject to the required due processes,” read Mboweni’s statement.

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