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SAICA readies the cannon: charges former Eskom CFO Anoj Singh with misconduct

JOHANNESBURG — In 2015, CFO South Africa gave then Transnet Chief Financial Officer Anoj Singh the award for best CFO in the public sector and the Strategy Execution Award. At the time they wrote; “When Transnet CEO Brian Molefe was ‘redeployed’ to save Eskom in 2015, that was largely due to his successful tenure at the state-owned company responsible for South Africa’s rail, ports and pipelines. And it’s an open secret that Molefe’s success at Transnet is for a big part thanks to the man behind much of the strategy and the numbers: Chief Financial Officer Anoj Singh.” Molefe has since left Eskom in tears, while Singh left Transnet to join Eskom only to be suspended by the energy utility, with both leaving a money trail in their wake. A recent Werksmans report detailed how a R100 million fee paid to Regiments by Transnet in 2014 appeared to be unjustifiable, and raised concerns about whether Singh and Molefe had conducted themselves properly in approving it. SAICA don’t mention this in their report below, but they are charging Singh with misconduct following a R600 million payment to Tegeta Resources when the pair where at Eskom. If found guilty Singh can be suspended from the organisation for a period not exceeding 12 months, while a maximum fine of R250,000 can be charged. It seems like a paltry sum given the amount squandered but it’s a step in the right direction given how SAICA came under fire earlier in the year given their level of inaction previously. – Stuart Lowman

SAICA media statement:

The South African Institute of Chartered Accountants’ (SAICA) By-Laws permit the issuing of public statements by the SAICA chief executive officer (CEO) regarding the institution of any complaint or investigation or action against a member once a draft charge sheet or a charge sheet has been issued to such member and such matter, complaint, investigation or action is, in the opinion of the CEO, in the public interest.

Former Eskom CFO Anoj Singh

SAICA hereby informs stakeholders and the public that, after an extensive period of investigation, charges of misconduct have been preferred against Mr. Anoj Singh.

Mr. Anoj Singh is charged as follows:

  • that he conducted himself in a manner which, in the opinion of the Professional Conduct Committee or the Disciplinary Committee, is discreditable, dishonourable, dishonest, irregular or unworthy, or which is derogatory to the Institute, or tends to bring the profession of accountancy into disrepute; and/or
  • that he failed to maintain and adhere to the fundamental principles in the SAICA Professional Code of Conduct for Chartered Accountants, in contravention of:
  1. 1. Integrity

Mr. Anoj Singh failed to disclose to the Eskom Board of Directors the true reason for Tegeta’s request of some R600 million from Eskom.

Mr. Anoj Singh was knowingly associated with reports, returns, communications or other information where he knew or believed, or ought reasonably to have known, that the information:

  • contained a materially false or misleading statements;
  • contained statements or information furnished recklessly; or
  • omitted or obscured information required to be included where such omission or obscurity would be misleading.

After Mr. Singh became aware that he was associated with such information, he failed to take steps to be disassociated from that information.

  1. 2. Objectivity
  • Mr. Anoj Singh compromised his professional or business judgment because of bias, conflict of interest or the undue influence of others.
  • Mr. Anoj Singh performed a professional service where a relationship bias unduly influenced his professional judgment with respect to that service.
  1. 3. Confidentiality

Mr. Anoj Singh:

  • disclosed confidential information acquired as a result of professional and business relationships without proper and specific authority to do so;
  • used confidential information acquired as a result of professional and business relationships to his personal advantage or the advantage of third parties; and
  • failed to take reasonable steps to ensure that staff under his control and persons from whom advice and assistance is obtained respected his duty of confidentiality.
  1. 4. Professional behaviour

Mr. Anoj Singh failed to comply with relevant laws and regulations and to avoid any conduct that he knew or should have known may discredit the accountancy profession. This includes conduct that a reasonable third party, weighing all the specific facts and circumstances available to him at that time, would be likely to conclude adversely affects the good reputation of the profession.

Read also: Denel’s popgun performance sees another SOE CFO suspended

In terms of the SAICA By-Laws, Mr. Anoj Singh has 21 (twenty-one) days to respond to SAICA with a response to the charges referred to above. Once his response to the charges is received, the SAICA secretariat will review the response and table the matter for adjudication before the Professional Conduct Committee. Details of the subsequent disciplinary hearing will be provided to all stakeholders once such details have been confirmed with the relevant Professional Conduct Committee chairperson and panel.

Read also: A return to ethical governance – Gordhan cleans out three more SOEs.

All disciplinary hearings of the Professional Conduct Committee are not open to the public. Accused members appearing before the Professional Conduct Committee are not permitted legal representation. If on receipt of the accused member’s explanation (in response to the charges) the Professional Conduct Committee is not satisfied with such explanation or if no explanation is forthcoming, the Professional Conduct Committee shall have the full power to caution, reprimand, impose a fine of not more than R250,000 per charge, suspend the accused from membership for a period not exceeding 12 months or refer a formal complaint against the accused to the Disciplinary Committee.

Hearings of the Disciplinary Committee are open to the public unless the Chairman of the committee find it inappropriate to do so.

Further details regarding disciplinary hearings are available on the SAICA disciplinary hearing roll.

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