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Comment Sought on Auditing Profession Amendment Bill

February 2, 2021

Parliament

The national council of provinces (NCOP) seeks comment on the Auditing Profession Amendment Bill.

The bill was tabled in parliament in February 2020.

The national assembly passed the bill and sent it to the NCOP for concurrence in December 2020.

The bill aims to amend the Auditing Profession Act of 2005, so as to:


• insert a definition;
• strengthen the governance of the Regulatory Board;
• strengthen the investigating and disciplinary processes;
• provide for the power to enter and search premises and to subpoena persons with information required for an investigation or disciplinary process;
• provide for the power to issue a warrant for purposes of entering and searching of premises;
• provide for processes to be followed after an investigation;
• provide for sanctions in admission of guilt process and following a disciplinary hearing;
• provide for offences relating to investigation and disciplinary process;
• provide for the protection and sharing of information;
• provide for transitional measures; and
• provide for matters connected therewith.

The proposed legislation sets down how the investigating committee, disciplinary committee and subcommittees of the Independent Regulatory Board for Auditors (IRBA) are to be constituted.

Detail is provided on powers to enter and search premises, warrants, process following investigation, disciplinary hearing and sanctions in admission of guilt process.

In order to strengthen the independence of the IRBA and address issues of conflict of interest by members of the IRBA, the proposed amendments prohibit registered auditors and candidate auditors from being appointed as members of the IRBA.

The proposed amendment also seeks to empower the investigating committee to authorise an official of the IRBA to enter and search premises or subpoena any person with information required to complete an investigation in order to address issues of non-cooperation by auditing firms during improper conduct investigations.

The IRBA will also be able to, if appropriate, refer a matter brought against a registered auditor to an accredited professional body for investigation.

The standing committee on finance adopted the bill with amendments.

The select committee on finance seeks comment on the bill until 8 February 2021.

Meanwhile, in a statement, the Reserve Bank (SARB) announced that, as part of the review of the appropriateness and effectiveness of its open market operations, the decision has been taken to revert to the end-of-day Supplementary Repurchase Operations conducted at the discretion of the SARB.

The rate applicable to the Supplementary Repurchase Operations will remain the repo rate and the Weekly Main Repurchase Operations will be conducted at 12:00 on Wednesdays from the current 10:00.

Both amendments kick in on 3 February 2021.