A former KPMG partner has claimed he lost his job after being pressured by an Australian public servant to change a document that found a $10bn gap in the Treasury’s finances, according to reports.
In a parliamentary hearing today, Brendan Lyon said he received “professional, ongoing attacks,” from public servants and that the Australian treasury secretary Michael Pratt wanted to have him fired, according to the Guardian.
At the time of the alleged incident KPMG was working on a project for Transport for New South Wales to create an operating model for the new body set up to run the state’s rail infrastructure, known as the Transport Asset Holding Entity (TAHE).
TAHE is currently subject to a parliamentary inquiry to investigate whether it has produced any income or has a feasible business plan.
Lyon told the parliamentary hearing that he had discovered discrepancies in the Treasury’s budget figures and their claims.
“The budget [was] some $10bn or more worse off than Treasury has claimed,” he told the committee hearing.
“This is because of the way transport expenses are accounted,” he explained.
In an email to Lyon in November 2020, Pratt told the then KPMG partner to “either correct the errors or remove all references to Treasury modelling, which is not for you to comment on,” according to documents provided by Lyon to the committee.
Pratt also wrote to senior partners at KPMG about the incident: “You obviously have a partner who refuses to take counsel and is out of control … I expect you to take action.”
The exchange, Lyon said, led to the launch of “internal vexatious disciplinary processes” which made it impossible for him to stay at the firm.