Minister Mboweni and new IRBA Board should investigate questionable CEO appointment

The Democratic Alliance (DA) has written a follow-up letter to the Finance Minister, Tito Mboweni, to request that the newly-appointed Independent Regulatory Board for Auditors (IRBA) board members launch an investigation into the appointment of Ms Jenitha John as its CEO.

The DA wrote to Minister Mboweni on 21 May 2020 to request details of the proposed appointment of Ms John as the CEO of the IRBA. Despite the passage of some five weeks since writing the letter and receiving an acknowledgement from the Minister, there has been no substantive reply to the issues raised by the DA.

The concerns around the appointment of Ms John, amongst other possible concerns, are mainly surrounding:

  • Her performance on the Board of Tongaat Hulett and as Chair of their Audit and Compliance Committee for 12 years – during which period massive accounting irregularities apparently took place;
  • During her past role as the Chair of the Nampak Audit Committee, there were apparently serious concerns of malfeasance;
  • Why Ms John left her position at Firstrand at the time of the emerging Tongaat Hulett accounting malfeasance; and
  • Why Ms John, who is not a qualified and registered auditor, was appointed to run an organisation that has the main purpose of regulating the conduct of registered auditors.

On 29 May 2020, Minister Mboweni publicly made a commitment to discuss, with the board, the concerns around Ms John’s controversial appointment. It is for this reason, and in the interest of accountability, that I have written a follow-up letter to the Minister to request:

  • That he confirms that he has had the discussions with the IRBA board as he committed himself to on 29 May 2020;
  • What the outcome of these discussions may have been; and
  • That he provides a comprehensive response to our letter to him dated, 21 May 2020.

There are significant questions about the process followed for the appointment of Ms John as the CEO of the IRBA and we simply will not accept silence from the Minister in this regard.  

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