FORMER SAA EXECUTIVE’S WINGS CLIPPED AFTER SAICA FINE AND MEMBERSHIP TERMINATION
SAICA referred OUTA’s initial complaint to the Independent Regulatory Board for Auditors (IRBA) for investigations. However, IRBA decided not to charge Ms Kwinana on the basis that there was insufficient evidence to prove the allegations of misconduct. They then proceeded to close the matter.
During SAICA’s disciplinary hearing, Kwinana faced 14 charges. One was withdrawn, and she was found guilty of 13 charges. The accountancy regulator found Kwinana “not a fit and proper individual to be a member of the profession” and said she should be excluded from membership of SAICA with immediate effect. She also had to pay all of SAICA’s costs in respect of the disciplinary hearing, except for security services.
OUTA welcomes SAICA’s decision, since Kwinana’s misconduct at SAA played a significant role in the airline’s financial demise. The State Capture Commission found that Kwinana and former SAA chairperson Dudu Myeni caused "sustained damage" to the embattled national airline. In a scathing assessment, the commission found that Kwinana appeared to have "no clue about some of the basic obligations that she should know as a charted accountant" or "dishonestly pretended" she didn't know what her job entailed. Kwinana’s tenure, the report noted, marked a period of “poor quality and ineffectiveness” at SAA and SAAT.
The Zondo commission’s report noted evidence that Kwinana personally received R4.3 million in payments from a South African Airways Technical (SAAT) supplier. It recommended SARS to probe Kwinana & Associates, the auditing firm of which Kwinana is the sole director, saying it may have understated revenue by about R40 million in the 2016 financial year, and recommended that the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) consider prosecuting Kwinana for corruption.
OUTA’s 2017 complaint with SAICA formed part of a bigger strategy to hold the board members and directors of SAA to account for breaches of their fiduciary duties and responsibilities. The charges against Kwinana pertained to her misconduct and unlawful interference in SAA’s procurement processes on several deals, such as BnP Capital, Airbus and others. See here how OUTA stopped the BnP deal, saving taxpayers R256 million.
The BnP and Airbus deals, amongst others, also formed the basis of our investigation and subsequent legal action against former SAA board chair, Dudu Myeni. More about that project here.
In addition to laying charges with SAICA, OUTA decided in May 2017 to take legal action against the board members of SAA by bringing a delinquency application. However, due to financial difficulties a decision was made to bring the delinquency application against Myeni alone, since she was the chairperson of the board. In our view, Kwinana was just as guilty as Myeni.
In May 2020, OUTA succeeded in its delinquency application and the court declared Myeni a delinquent director for life. But Kwinana was still not held accountable for her role in the SAA debacle.
Following Ms Kwinana’s testimony at the Zondo Comission in 2021, OUTA wrote to IRBA requesting that they look into the matter and take into consideration the testimony given by Ms Kwinana at said commission. However, IRBA advised that they would not be reopening the investigation into this matter, since Kwinana’s registration with them had terminated on 16 September 2019. They advised us to get in contact with SAICA. OUTA has been in contact with SAICA since 2021.
Even though Kwinana cannot work as a chartered accountant anymore, she may still be able to practice as an auditor, since a different body (IRBA) oversees the auditing profession. It remains to be seen if she pursues registration with IRBA again.
SAICA’s statement on the outcome can be found here.