Oman regulator suspends KPMG from new auditing work over ‘irregularities’

Oman’s securities regulator has suspended audit firm KPMG from doing new work for a year. Above, the KPMG logo is seen at their offices in the Canary Wharf financial district of London. (Reuters)
Updated 14 November 2018
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Oman regulator suspends KPMG from new auditing work over ‘irregularities’

  • In Oman, KPMG is banned for one year from doing new auditing work for companies regulated by the CMA
  • It is another setback for KPMG, which is under scrutiny after losing clients in South Africa following its role in a high-profile corruption scandal there

DUBAI: Oman’s securities regulator said on Wednesday it has suspended audit firm KPMG from doing new work for a year after finding major financial and accounting irregularities at some listed companies.
The Capital Market Authority (CMA) took corrective steps at those companies to protect investors, it said in a statement without naming the firms or giving other details.
A review by the CMA “established professional negligence on the part of some audit firms that warranted disciplinary measures against them in the interests of the investors and other stakeholders,” the CMA said.
It is another setback for KPMG, which is under scrutiny after losing clients in South Africa following its role in a high-profile corruption scandal there and has faced investigations in Britain over its auditing of some clients.
In Oman, KPMG is banned for one year from doing new auditing work for companies regulated by the CMA, including listed companies, securities firms and insurers.
The penalty does not affect projects where KPMG has already been appointed, and KPMG has a right to appeal against the penalty before an independent authority, the CMA said.
KPMG said it could not immediately comment on the CMA’s statement.


Saudi oil refinery in Gwadar to help Islamabad save $3 billion a year

Updated 27 min 52 sec ago
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Saudi oil refinery in Gwadar to help Islamabad save $3 billion a year

  • The refinery would produce up to 300,000 barrels per day once completed
  • Saudi Arabia is also setting up reservoirs for liquified natural gas in Pakistan, says Petroleum Minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan expects to agree a deal to build an oil refinery and petrochemical complex at the Balochistani deep-sea Port of Gwadar, during the first state-level visit by Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

The deal will see Pakistan join with Saudi Aramco to build the facility, expected to cost $10 billion.

“We are working on feasibility studies for the establishment of the oil refinery and petrochemical complex in Gwadar, and will be ready to start by early 2020,” Pakistan’s Minister for Petroleum Ghulam Sarwar Khan told Arab News on Thursday.

Once established, the project will help the South Asian nation cut its annual crude oil imports by up to $3 billion annually, in addition to creating thousands of job opportunities in the impoverished western province.

The country spends more than $16 billion each year on importing 26 million tons of petroleum products, including 800 million cubic feet of liquified natural gas (LNG) from Saudi Arabia, the UAE and other Gulf countries.

Khan claimed the refinery would produce up to 300,000 barrels per day once completed.

“The Saudi authorities have asked us to complete all the initial work on the project on a fast track, as they want to set it up as early as possible,” he said.

A Saudi technical team, including Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih, has visited Gwadar twice in recent months to examine the site for the refinery, getting briefings from Pakistani officials on security in the area near the border with Iran.

“We will ensure complete security for Saudi investments and people working on the project. A detailed security plan has already been chalked up with help of the security agencies,” Khan added.

Pakistan currently has five oil refineries, but they can only satisfy half of its annual demand. Islamabad and Riyadh have long maintained strong ties, with the latter repeatedly offering the former financial assistance. Last year, the Kingdom guaranteed Pakistan $3 billion in foreign currency support for a year, and a further loan worth up to $3 billion in deferred payments for oil imports, to help stave off an economic crisis. The Islamic Republic also received $3 billion from the UAE to protect its foreign reserves.

Khan added that the Pakistani-Arab Refinery Co. (PARCO) was also setting up an oil refinery at Khalifa Point, near the city of Hub in Balochistan. 

“The work on this project is at an advanced stage. Land for it has been acquired and other formalities are being fulfilled,” he said.

Khan hopes the world’s perception of Pakistan will change upon completion of these deals, after years of war in the surrounding region. Exxon Mobil returned to Pakistan last month after 27 years, and started offshore drilling with $75 million of initial investments. 

“All results of the drilling are positive so far, and we expect huge oil and gas reserves to be discovered soon,” he said.

“More foreign companies are contacting us to invest in offshore drilling and exploration. Saudi Arabia is also setting up reservoirs for LNG in Pakistan. More Saudi investment will come to Pakistan with the passage of time.”