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62: Michael Marchant

Researcher and co-author - Open Secrets 
A recent report released by Open Secrets provides fascinating insight to financial crimes in South Africa’s private and public sector.
10 August 2020

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CIARAN RYAN: Today I am really happy to welcome Michael Marchant, who is the co-author of a new report by a non-profit organisation called Open Secrets, based down in Cape Town, and that report is called The Auditors, which was released recently to the press and it created quite a stir across the country and internationally. This report looks at the role of accountants and auditors in some of the biggest scandals of the last decade. For example, the looting of VBS Bank in South Africa, the collapse of Steinhoff and the rampage of the Gupta family through state-owned enterprises in South Africa. First of all, welcome Michael, how are you?

MICHAEL MARCHANT: Hi Ciaran, nice to be on the show.

CIARAN RYAN: I attended the virtual launch of The Auditors last week, it’s a very fascinating report and great research, you have done several of these reports and I have got to commend you on the amount of work that goes into it. But I think maybe just kick off and explain to people who don’t know what is Open Secrets?

MICHAEL MARCHANT: Open Secrets is a small non-profit organisation based in Cape Town and what we do is we undertake investigations into instances of economic crime or financial crime, where there’s some kind of either public impact, human rights impact in particular, our focus is especially on private sector actors. So there are a lot of organisations doing really great work around corruption and economic crime that focus on the state and what we have identified is what we think is an important gap there, which is to look at the role of private sector actors in those networks of corruption and economic crime, and see how they fit in and really try to shine the spotlight onto those actors, who sometimes don’t get the same kind of scrutiny as we give to our public officials and politicians.

CIARAN RYAN: What inspired The Auditors, what made you take that up as a theme?

MICHAEL MARCHANT: We had been doing quite a lot of work around what South Africans call state capture and this kind of grand corruption, high level corruption that has defined the country for many years. Particularly over the last decade it has had this massive public cost in terms of the looting of public resources and the general decline of the economy that’s accompanied that. When we were doing work around state capture what we were increasingly seeing was the role of private sector actors playing enabling roles. KPMG, which is one of the big four auditing firms, was the one that was really jumping out on lots of case studies in the South African context. KPMG South Africa really took a hammering for their complicity in a lot of the attacks on public institutions. They have now publicly acknowledged that there were several massive failures on their part. So we were looking into that and as that was happening we had several high-profile corporate crime issues come to the fore and you started to see others from the big four auditing firms involved, either from an audit perspective but also increasingly from a consulting perspective. So what we tried to do with this report is bring together some of the disparate reporting on these issues to try and draw up what we think some of the systemic problems are that are facing the industry and try to drive a conversation about this sector a little bit more broadly to get everyone into the conversation, rather than only talking about it in terms of independent cases.

 

Inherent conflict of interest in auditing and consulting

 

CIARAN RYAN: Okay, so let’s just unpack some of that. I think one of the themes that comes out of the report is that there’s an inherent conflict of interest where you have a big four firm that is both your auditor and is also consulting. So give us a few examples of that, we know this is a problem, there’s a book that was brought out a few years ago called Bean Counters: The Triumph of the Accountants and How They Broke Capitalism by Richard Brooks. I don’t know if you’ve read that but I interviewed him on this podcast and he makes exactly the same point, which is unless you get over this conflict of interest where you have an auditor who is also consulting and, of course, consulting has become the bigger part of the business for these accounting firms, is that not the case?

MICHAEL MARCHANT: That certainly is the case and Bean Counters was actually a really important source and inspiration for the Open Secrets report, we drew quite heavily on it. I think it’s now widely acknowledged, not just in the South African businesses, the audit firms, that consulting is really the lucrative part of the business, as you say. I suppose what is interesting to consider is that what we are suggesting here is that it’s not only necessarily a conflict of interest if audit firms are both auditing and consulting for a client at exactly the same time but rather that this is a case of relationship building and a concern around independence when there’s a concern about future business as well. If you look at some of the South African enterprises and versions of them, if you look at South African Airways, for example, you have a law and forensic consulting firm like ENSafrica and they do work for SAA over a period of more than a decade and they represent them in many various ways. Now, I don’t know of a specific incidence in this case where ENSafrica have specifically done something problematic or unlawful, but it really goes to the heart of having firms embedded in relationships for very long periods of time. Even if you are not auditing a firm at any one moment in time or if you are auditing and not consulting at that moment in time, you may be concerned about a relationship in the future.

CIARAN RYAN: Okay, so some of the instances that come up in the report here of really problematic audits, you talk about SAA, which you have already mentioned, which is in business rescue, it’s a bankrupt company. African Bank failed spectacularly in 2014 and that was audited by Deloitte, which seems to have missed a number of red flags about overstated future cash flow projections. Then you’ve got various Eskom tenders, again that was Deloitte involved in that, not picked up again. What is happening here, why are these red flags being presented and overlooked?

MICHAEL MARCHANT: It’s quite difficult to work out in each individual case precisely why failures come about. So one of the arguments that the auditing industry brings up very strong, very often is that it’s not their job to look for fraud. It’s a fair point that the general audit is not a forensic audit, it’s not to specifically identify fraud. But the cases that you raise, if you look at South African Airways, also places like Steinhoff and Tongaat, what you’ve got to ask is why auditors, if they were displaying the requisite professional scepticism and general curiosity that you would expect a professional auditor to show, how they were not identifying some of these issues. If you look at the VBS scandal or if you look broader, from a global perspective at something like the Wirecard fraud, you’re looking at very fundamental things, you’re looking at simply cash not being in bank accounts, massive holes, reporting that there’s cash available and yet there’s nothing there. That doesn’t require a forensic analysis, it just requires an auditor to be asking the right questions. One of the issues that we’ve picked up is the SAA case is a good one to look at, given the amount of public money that’s disappeared into that entity. If you look at PwC’s work there as the external auditor for many years, it took the Auditor General one audit to immediately pick up on five or six material misstatements that PwC had missed in the years prior. I don’t think that the Auditor General has got the magic bullet or more resources than PwC, it simply came into an entity where it was quite obvious where the risks were around procurement and things like that, they followed those risks and they identified the misstatements. I do think that one of the big problems that we see and it’s something that we try and raise in the report quite strongly is that one of the big issues with recurring failures by audit firms is just the fact that the sanctions available are not currently high enough to discourage behaviour. So if you look at PwC at SAA, they were found guilty by the regulator for failing to disclose breaches of statute and failing to identify other material misstatements. But the fine was a couple of hundred thousand rand, which is not even comparable to the fees that they earned on that, let alone sufficient to act as a deterrent. I think one of the issues here is that there don’t seem to be any real consequences when you do have conspicuous audit failure.

CIARAN RYAN: Right, I think IRBA, which is the regulatory body in South Africa, the Independent Regulatory Board for Auditors, they have complained for quite some time, for example, they have this case going on at the moment with African Bank and it really has been going on for months and months and months. It has cost millions in legal fees and, of course, the defendants in the case bring out the very best and most expensive lawyers that they can find. That just makes it that much more complicate and difficult to get any type of accountability, is that not the case?

MICHAEL MARCHANT: Absolutely, I think that the odds are stacked against the regulator. Like you say, the regulator in South Africa has been asking for greater powers of investigation, more resources and greater ability to sanction. But it remains true that they will be coming up against very, very tough, well resourced corporations. If you look at Deloitte, they have been fighting the African Bank matter tooth and nail, even though there is ongoing litigation against them by shareholders and others who are convinced that they have fundamentally failed them. I think another interesting point around the way that some of the audit firms fight accountability is that a company like Deloitte has a lot of skin in the game because they know what they are going to be up against in a couple of massive cases coming ahead. So you’ve got IRBA looking at them in terms of the failure of Steinhoff and then within six months to a year of Steinhoff’s failure you have the other failure of Tongaat Hulett, the sugar company in South Africa, Deloitte being the long-term auditor of both those firms. I definitely get the sense – this is just my opinion – but you’ve got a firm there that doesn’t want to start conceding too many systemic problems because they are going to have to fight this and a couple of other massive cases coming up soon.

 

‘In the VBS Bank scandal you’ve got the wholesale looting of billions of rands’

 

CIARAN RYAN: One of the other things that came out in the report was the lack of internal audit independence. Now, this is something that has popped up on my radar in a number of cases over the years. You basically have internal auditors…firstly, what seems to happen is that they are not staffed with people who necessarily have got the technical skills to be able to do their job properly but secondly, there’s a bullying element, they are drawing a salary, they’re under the radar of the chief executive and the board, so they are kind of going to shut up about things that maybe they should raise their voices about. This is something that you highlighted in the report, right?

MICHAEL MARCHANT: This is something that repeats itself in almost every case study that we look at, is either having compliant internal auditors, as you say, auditors who are either not necessarily as skilled as the external auditors or in many cases they are but, as you say, they are much more answerable to executives and much closer in proximity. So beyond the classic independence issue that you might have with an external auditor but often you have that kind of fear from the internal auditors. I think that there were two other issues that we picked up in the report regarding internal auditors that we found quite interesting. The first is that you’ve got often the case that the external auditors are intimately aware of what the internal auditors might or might not be doing. So they should be aware of the risks, yet they are not acting on them. So to return to that case study of South African Airways, PwC’s auditors were in the audit committee meetings when it was revealed that the internal audit function at South African Airways had essentially disappeared or imploded, the systems were so broken there and yet PwC didn’t even make note of that in their annual reports, they didn’t note that there was a risk associated with this. So that’s indeed one of the problems. Then if you look elsewhere you’ve really got to answer the question again about big firms that often get contracted to do internal work. PwC, I believe, was the internal at VBS and in the VBS Bank scandal you’ve got the wholesale looting of billions of rands from a a bank in quite a crass fashion, so you’ve got fake deposits and all of these kinds of things and yet PwC just shrugged their shoulders and said, look, we were supposed to build compliance systems but we weren’t supposed to identify fraud. But it begs the question there that as the internal auditors if you are supposed to develop and then monitor governance and compliance frameworks and something goes wrong that badly, surely you have got to be answerable. Maybe just a final word on this is that if we think there’s a problem with the regulation of the external auditors, I think it’s even worse at the level of internal auditors. I don’t think that there’s any evidence that the Institute of Internal Auditors South Africa really holds those people to account.

CIARAN RYAN: One of the things I have been looking at is the treatment of whistleblowers and there are quite a few very brave whistleblowers who have come out in South Africa. I think the one at SAA, for example, is Cynthia Stimpel, who was the treasurer at SAA. SAA, under Dudu Myeni at that time, was instructing her to refinance the airline fleet and she just objected because of all of a sudden a firm that had never been known was introduced, very, very suspiciously and she objected to it and she eventually left. I am not sure if she was fired or she just left because of harassment but this is the kind of treatment that goes on. There’s another case involving VBS Bank up in Limpopo, in Capricorn, one of the municipalities in that area, where the municipal financial manager realised that while she was away on leave that R60 million had suddenly gone out of the municipal accounts and had gone to VBS Bank and she demanded that it be returned and she succeeded. I think you mentioned her in the report as one of the heroes, the unsung heroes, but this is also a problem, the treatment of whistleblowers, it takes tremendous courage. For a lot of these whistleblowers the reality is, although we in the media and research and so on might applaud them, the fact is they find it very difficult to get back into the job market after that. Nobody wants what they perceive as a troublemaker.

MICHAEL MARCHANT: Completely and there really isn’t sufficient protection for whistleblowers. In South Africa we’ve got various laws that on paper seem to protect whistleblowers, things the like the Protected Disclosures Act and other statutes. But the issue is exactly as you’ve said, so you’ve really got two problems, the one is you’ve got the very deep pockets of the corporations and the ability to legally go through a process to challenge them on whistleblowing is incredibly difficult and incredibly expensive. That’s the one thing. Then the second thing, as you say, if you are de facto excluded from future jobs in your sector, it’s an incredible disincentive to blow the whistle and to do so publicly. I think it’s something that civil society is raised in South Africa as aware of but it’s something that I think there hasn’t been a fix identified to yet. I think all that people can do now is to tell prospective whistleblowers that they have to be incredibly careful because it can be reckless for people. As you say, researchers and journalists have encouraged people to blow the whistle and be completely unable to protect them when they do so.

 

State of the audit industry in South Africa

 

CIARAN RYAN: What’s your overall perception, maybe this is a bit of an obvious question, but your overall perception of the state of the audit industry in South Africa?

MICHAEL MARCHANT: I think that it goes without saying that if you look at the reports and the broad strokes arguments that we make there, we would say that there’s a systemic problem in the audit industry in South Africa. The title of the online launch was ‘Is Auditing in a Crisis’ and I think we have seen a lot of voices come out and say yes, it probably is. I think there’s also a reckoning within the industry, I don’t think this is only outsiders like ourselves saying there’s a problem here. I think there’s a deep concern within the industry around the perceptions of this crisis. One of the things that we are hoping that this report does is prompt a conversation among young professionals in these sectors about how…apart from the obvious need to change regulation and law around these issues, it’s really for them to see critically within the firms what they can do to change those systems. If you look at the work of KPMG in the VBS scandal, you’ve got a young auditor there, who was the junior auditor on the account, immediately recognised a massive problem and raised it with the senior auditor and the firm. It became very clear to that auditor early on that if they wanted to keep their job and not get into trouble, they were going to have to let that problem go. What that auditor has said is that basically every system at KPMG failed in that instance because it was not just the senior auditor, who has now been criminally charged, but it was also their seniors within KPMG who are supposed to provide oversight to those kinds of issues and offer a space for junior auditors to raise issues that they see, especially potentially unlawful issues. It’s a reminder as well that it’s not just those whistleblowers who actively go out and break ranks but also that the firms themselves need to take seriously listening to their own employees in these instances. I think it’s only if you tackle both those internal problems and the external regulatory framework that you can start to tackle the crisis of public confidence that there is in the audit industry in South Africa.

CIARAN RYAN: One of the things that comes out in the report and it’s also raised by Richard Brooks in Bean Counters, it’s actually a fantastic business model, if you look at it purely as a business model, that the audit firms have but it does rely on this consulting, the audit is almost like a loss leader. Yes, they seem to make a lot of fees from it but that’s not really where they are making their money. In the book he presents this table of the revenues that were earned by the big four firms over the last 15 or 20 years. I was a bit struck by the fact that after the financial crisis in 2008 there was barely a dip and it continues to grow. I think the figure that they employ worldwide is something like 60 000 just in those four firms worldwide. This is a business model and if you look it and you’re the chief financial officer sitting there at one of these firms and say we don’t want to rupture any of our relationships, we have to keep this thing going. Isn’t that part of the problem, the business model itself?

MICHAEL MARCHANT: I certainly think so, I think what you raised there is really important because there has been…it’s not just an explosion in the kind of profitability of these firms but it’s also an explosion of their reach and influence in both public and private sector. One of the things we noticed in the report is that certainly from a corporate perspective you’ve got massive possible conflicts of interest in the sense that you’ve got auditing and consulting for similar or the same firms but it also extends into their reach into the public sector that increasingly now you have the big four firms providing consulting services to governments on everything from how to implement nuclear energy to one of the more fundamental conflicts of interest, which is tax policy and other financial policies, and you have those firms able to capture those spaces. Then you really do have a problem of the fox guarding the chicken coop because you’ve got the state turning to consultants and other specialists at the firms and saying help us construct the tax policy, and then you’ve got all those firms saying to high net worth individuals and corporations that we are the best placed possible to get you around some of these rules. The more they grow, the more profitable they become and the wider their reach is the more entrenched they become in those spaces, I think that their power in that sense is a real concern. Maybe just to add here and it’s another thing that maybe escapes discussion quite often, and it’s the same for the growth of mega law firms, is that these firms are still not public companies, they are partnership-based and I think that creates all sorts of interesting conflicts within the firms in terms of accessing partnership level in terms of remuneration and things like that. But it also raises issues for public transparency and accountability that are often not held to the same standards of publicly listed companies.

CIARAN RYAN: I was talking a little bit earlier to the chief financial officer from Stanlib, Avashnee Ramdial, I actually asked her about this report and whether she had read it and she agreed that there is a reputational problem within the audit profession and it really comes down to this issue of independence. She herself is somebody who was involved in audit for many years, you have to be able to ask the sceptical, probing questions. Now, you can imagine that everybody runs into this at various times in a professional capacity where you might have somebody who’s a bit of a gentle soul, doesn’t really want to ask the boss of this company, who is earning millions more than you are every year, what about this particular deposit, did it actually happen, can I have some proof of that. In other words, they tend to back off and it does become a personality thing, even though the audit rules require you from a professional point of view to adopt professional scepticism. That really is getting to the nub of the issue, isn’t it, where you really have to separate your personality from your professional duties.

MICHAEL MARCHANT: Completely and I think with specifically all of the audit failures that we see both in South Africa and around the world, and that we discuss in the report, you really in all of those cases have just a fundamental failure to ask the probing critical questions and to really act on what you know. If you look at the failure of Tongaat Hulett in South Africa, you’ve got a company there that is reporting that it still owns land in Zimbabwe that had been nationalised for many years. It’s not the kind of thing that’s difficult to ask about. But it’s something that I think intersects with the personal and the firm level. One of the other issues is that you’ve got auditors who are not asking the very difficult questions. You’ve also got auditors in many cases that might have been auditing the same firm for 80 years and you might have had the same audit executive on a project for a decade or longer. So not only do you have that personal issue of not wanting to ask the difficult questions, but I think that the lines can get so blurred when those relationships can go on for so long. I do think that at its heart it’s an independence issue but I think that it’s one of the things that I find encouraging in this discussion is that you are increasingly seeing people within the industry recognising that this is a problem.

CIARAN RYAN: I agree with you, I think there are a lot of auditors and accountants who are raising their voices about this because I think this kind of report…by the way, I did want to ask you, has there been any pushback to the report from the big four firms?

MICHAEL MARCHANT: It’s interesting, not currently, we haven’t seen any major pushback. In the launch itself I think that there were a couple of people who were kind of upset that the big four weren’t part of the conversation directly. But it is one of the things that is difficult for us as a small non-profit and that is to probe those bigger corporations into a response on some of these issues. I think what concerns us often is that they can take a wait-and-see approach and to say, well, hopefully this kind of blows over and we ride the waves of reporting. I think what others are realising around the world, and you see this particularly in the United Kingdom now, where there’s a really hard push to change the way audit works and how these firms are regulated. So you need a broad coalition of people to be discussing these issues, that it’s not just one organisation or one journalist who’s writing these stories but that everyone is saying let’s recognise what the problem is and let’s talk about what some of the solutions could be.

 

Big four firms oppose splitting auditing and consulting

 

CIARAN RYAN: Yes, let’s just touch on that because I think you did at the end of it come up with a list of recommended reforms for the profession and I think it was certainly informed by the Brydon Report, which came out last year in the UK, the obvious one is just to separate audit from consulting services so that you don’t get that conflict of interest anymore. Now, this is an issue that came up at the time of the Arthur Andersen involvement in Enron, it was recommended there but that didn’t really seem to go anywhere. What other changes do you recommend there, can you just spell out a few of them.

MICHAEL MARCHANT: It’s interesting to consider why the big four firms have pushed back on the issue of splitting auditing and consulting. They have pushed back very hard on it in the UK. One of the interesting things to consider is that some voices have suggested that increasingly because the consulting is so lucrative and the auditing is increasingly not, that firms might move away from this hard position and would be more willing to consider the split. I think one of the things that you have to consider if you do split the auditing and consulting of the big four, is what will happen to the quality of the audit and so it needs to be considered in line with other recommendations. The one in particular in the South African instance that we’ve suggested is far greater power and resources to the Auditor General, which is a Chapter Nine Institution, an independent state body that conducts public sector audits and particularly for big state-owned enterprises that have been the centre of so much scandal and corruption with the complicity, knowing or unknowing, of the big four firms. I think a greater role for the Auditor General there is really crucial to change the incentives, and even where big four firms are being contracted that they should not be contracted directly by a public sector entity’s boards where there’s a potential conflict of interest but where they could be contracted by the Auditor General and answerable to them. Then I think the other things that we have stressed from a recommendations point of view, we discussed this earlier, but it’s greater power to the regulator in South Africa, IRBA, greater powers to investigation and greater powers of sanction. So that there’s some kind of hard accountability when things go wrong. That could really act as a disincentive. Finally, I think what we’ve said is that we really have to be cautious about how we allow the big four to respond to the calls for regulation and reform. We’ve seen in the United Kingdom that the big four can often come out with quite grandiose claims about the detriment that will befall the industry and the economy if you start to tinker with these things. We’ve seen lots of talk from the big four there that it will really impact on London as a financial hub. I think our argument there is that we have to take into account when the big four push back on these things, they have deep vested financial interests in the way the system is now. You have already said this, it’s not that the business model doesn’t work for them, they are accumulating huge amounts of money by employing more people. So I think we have to be willing to have hard conversations about reforms that may not directly be in their best interests in the short run but would be in the best interests of the public, for the economy, for getting better audits and more accountable consultants and auditors. That’s something that we have really tried to push in the report to ensure that they don’t dominate and capture the reform process itself.

CIARAN RYAN: Right, of course this is what I think they call professional capture in Bean Counters, Richard Brooks highlighted an incidence where Lichtenstein, which is a tax haven, where the audit firms were basically writing the laws in that particular entity to their own benefit and the benefit of their clients. It’s quite clear that although there has been some independence involved in local legislation, it is so obviously weighted towards the profession itself and its business model that that has got to change, bearing in mind that they do perform a public service, their first duty is to the public and is not to the client, correct?

MICHAEL MARCHANT: One hundred percent. We have taken a little while to get to this point in the conversation, which is maybe indicative of a little bit of the problem, the big four will always try and push this back to a conversation that is predominantly technical and they have the technical expertise and so they can dominate these conversations. The argument is often around issues of tax law, audit, companies’ law, there are technical points to be discussed by experts. The other point that we make in the report is that this is at its heart a public interest issue because the consequences when these actors fail so catastrophically, as we have seen, the costs are borne by the public, they are borne by pensioners who see their savings disappear overnight when corporations like Steinhoff collapse, they are the depositors of VBS Bank, who wake up one morning and find that there’s actually no money left in that bank, they are you and I and every other South African taxpayer who sees another bailout going to South African Airways or Eskom, as Deloitte and others quietly pay back a portion of the fees that they have earned from very dubious consulting contracts with those entities. So we really are trying to frame this as such as a public issue, that this is something that concerns us all and I think that hopefully by reframing it in that way we broaden the conversation and the people who are in it and take it away from just being an issue that the big four can capture that regulatory space and the narrative and discussion.

 

‘We always encourage people to join the conversation and to contact us’

 

CIARAN RYAN: Michael, I think we will wrap it up there, the report is available at www.opensecrets.org.za and you click on the publications tab and you’ll get the report there called The Auditors. What are you working on now?

MICHAEL MARCHANT: We are continuing to work on a range of issues around state capture and the role of private sector actors in state capture in South Africa. In particular we are exploring the various legal options available to pursue accountability for some of those actors. We also continue to do a range of other work at Open Secrets that looks at other industries, the arms trade and others. As a final note, as you say, the report is available on the Open Secrets website but also if people have information on these and other issues, we are always keen to have discussions and to speak to people who are also often insiders and have different insights. And so you can contact us all, the details are available on the website as well. We always encourage people to join the conversation and to contact us.

CIARAN RYAN: Great, so you are based in Cape Town, you don’t have a branch in Johannesburg?

MICHAEL MARCHANT: No, at the moment we are limited to Cape Town.

CIARAN RYAN: I think the head of Open Secrets is Hennie van Vuuren, he brought out a book, which I bought last year, and I must admit I haven’t finished reading, it’s called Apartheid, Guns and Money – A Tale of Profit. It’s a fascinating story about this web of transactions that allowed the apartheid state to bypass the whole international boycott at the time. Although it seems like an old story, the point he does make in the book is that many of those relationships built up at that time have survived through time, which is really the fascinating point here. This is almost like a multi-generational thing, the deep state, if you want to call it that.

MICHAEL MARCHANT: Absolutely, it’s one of the fundamental, I suppose, assumptions and starting points of Open Secrets, which is that these networks and practices go back a long way and that they are deeply entrenched in our past. One of the points that Open Secrets makes, both Hennie making in that book but also the organisation since, is that it’s one of the reasons that accountability is so essential. That following apartheid we didn’t have a reckoning about the role of financial actors in the crime of apartheid, we didn’t look at the banks that continue to move money and the other private businesses that both profited from and were active participants in the regime. So I think that allows those firms to continue with impunity and I think the point is the same now following state capture and other crimes that if you don’t intercede, you feel the consequences for a long time after that.

CIARAN RYAN: It really is a superb piece of work, it’s well written, it does collate all of the information over the years into a handy compendium and I would advise anybody who’s involved in the finance field to read that because it is a reminder of the obligations that you have as an accountant and as a financial executive. So a great piece of work. Let’s get you back on again, you are bringing out these reports at quite a rapid rate now, to talk about your next installment when that comes about.

MICHAEL MARCHANT: Absolutely, I would be very keen to.

CIARAN RYAN: Michael, thanks very much for coming on and talking to us today at CFO Talks. That was Michael Marchant, the co-author of a new report by Open Secrets, called The Auditors

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