|The committee heard that the forensic investigation is further delayed due to a possible conflict of interest by the appointed forensic auditors|
| Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Trade and Industry today held a follow-up meeting regarding the South African Bureau of Standards’ (SABS’s) forensic investigation pertaining to alleged irregularities emanating from the Eskom Inquiry. The committee noted and welcomed the progress made at the entity since the intervention on the management of SABS by Minister Rob Davies.
Committee Chairperson, Ms Joanmariae Fubbs, said: “The SABS is critical for the economic development and the integrity of its products traded from South Africa. It is therefore encouraging to see progress has been made. This is a positive step in the right direction.”
The SABS was placed under administration by the Minister last month. The committee heard that since then, two co-administrators were appointed as the accounting authority of the SABS. They have been mandated to undertake a diagnostic analysis of the SABS, develop a turn-around strategy for the institution and implement this in consultation with the shareholder.
The committee heard that the forensic investigation is further delayed due to a possible conflict of interest by the appointed forensic auditors. On 15 February 2018, the Minister had instructed the former SABS board to ensure that a forensic investigation is conducted into the irregularities related to SABS’s coal testing for the Tegeta/Brakfontein mine.
Sizwe, Ntsaluba, Gobodo (SNG) was appointed to conduct the forensic investigation; however, Eskom had indicated that SNG is also their external auditors and therefore cannot do the investigation as this would be a conflict of interest. SNG argues that its external auditing and forensic auditing units are two separate business units and therefore no conflict of interest exists.
The committee noted its dissatisfaction that the forensic investigation has been further delayed. It indicated that it expected the investigation to have been concluded much earlier.
Ms Fubbs said this meeting was to provide an interim status report. “We will allocate more time for a deeper engagement for a comprehensive report from the SABS co-administrators to the committee. We will continue to monitor the progress at the SABS,” said Ms Fubbs.