Contributed from Victoria
A whistleblower and former partner at multinational consulting firm KPMG has called on the Australian government to establish a Royal Commission into the industry, Back in 2021, Brendan Lyon, informed a parliamentary inquiry in NSW that he had been pressured by KPMG to alter records, to change the figures in the State’s budget. More specifically, on the NSW government’s Transport Asset Holding Entity (TAHE).
He alleged that senior figures in the firm had conflicts of interest in relation to this.
Photo by Kate Geraghty: Brendan Lyon appears before the Senate parliamentary inquiry
KPMG responded by admitting it had contributed to complicating the situation and promised better practices in the future. But there has never been an admittance of deliberate wrongdoing. There was no proper investigation in NSW, even though the Australian division of KPMG had been fined $AU165,000 by the United Sates watchdog for cheating on online tests designed to improve professional safety requirements and ensure partners and staff act with integrity.
Brendan Lyon has now told the Senate inquiry that there is a need for a much more thorough investigation of the industry.
This comes in the wake of the PwC scandal. KPMG and PwC are two of the big four consulting US based multinationals dominating the industry. Together, they Carry out audits for the big corporations and government. This places them in an advantageous position to build extensive network that provide the grounds for conflicts of interest and corrupt practices to flourish.
Information is worth a great deal of money, and it is clear information has been passed on in breach of confidentiality requirements.
An investigation into their practices will contribute to uncovering the extend of it in Australia. The regulator has already found cases involving all the four. The big question is why hasn’t this been acted on already?
Lyon called on the federal government to “implement a default five-year ban on big four accounting firms found in serious breach of professional ethics by the new commonwealth regulator.”
He also called for a ban on political donations.
“In respect of its own procurement and management of consultants, the commonwealth should implement similar restrictions and obligations on public sector consultants to those binding public servants,” Lyon said.